Gilmer Free Press
A Special Gubernatorial Election Is Up to WV Supreme Court
Those on the state Supreme Court now have all of the information they need to decide what happens next with the lawsuit calling on the Court to order a Special Gubernatorial Election for early 2011.
Last Monday was the deadline for those named in the lawsuit to respond.
They are Acting Governor and Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, House Speaker Rick Thompson and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.
Tennant says her response explains that the Secretary of State’s Office does not have the authority to call a Special Election and details what would go into such an effort.
“We wanted to show how it would progress if there were a Special Election for Governor in 2011,“ Tennant said in a statement. “Our goal in the Secretary of State’s Office is to protect voters and third party candidates to make sure they have access to the ballot.“
She says, as opposed to the Special Primary Election for U.S. Senate earlier this year, she would like more time, at least 90 days, to pull off an election for governor next year, if that is what the Supreme Court orders.
In his brief filing, Acting Governor Tomblin says that there appears to be a consensus that current statutes provide for a new election in 2012. He says, as he sees it, waiting until then will not violate the state Constitution, but he says that is not totally up to him.
“In my view, the determination of when an election should be held lies with the people, as expressed through the Legislature, as an entire body,“ Tomblin said.
“Thus, if there is an overwhelming sentiment for an election, I would be happy to work with the Legislature to accomplish that goal and arrange for an election prior to 2012.“
Acting Governor Tomblin also said the following: “I have an abiding faith in our Supreme Court of Appeals and I know our justices will make a decision that is firmly based on the law.“
Earlier this year, the state Supreme Court combined the two Special Election lawsuits that were filed into one. Those filings came from South Charleston Attorney Thornton Cooper and the West Virginia Citizen Action Group.
The Court could opt to completely reject the case outright, schedule full arguments or issue an opinion without hearing full arguments.
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