The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia filed requests this week with the clerks of Cabell and Kanawha counties for information about their handling of the online voter registration system. On May 3, the same day it was filed, the state Supreme Court rejected an emergency petition from the ACLU, which was filed over the refusal by Kanawha Clerk Vera McCormick and Cabell Clerk Karen Cole to accept online voter registration in advance of the May 10 primary election. Attorneys with the ACLU argue that the clerks can’t reject the online voter registrations without violating the equal protection clause in the state and U.S. constitutions, and that denying online registration threatens the integrity of a statewide election. “Right now, we’re evaluating our options and deciding how best to go forward,” said Jamie Lynn Crofts, lead attorney for the ACLU. “We don’t currently have any lawsuit pending but we want to keep track of what’s going on and perhaps file another lawsuit in the future.”
The request filed by the ACLU, under the Freedom of Information Act, asks that the clerks provide, among other things, all policies and procedures or internal communications regarding the number of voters who tried to vote but were unable to cast a ballot on May 10 or during early voting; information regarding the number of voters who tried to register or update their registration using the online system, and information regarding how many provisional ballots were cast during the primary election and during early voting.
According to the request, the ACLU asks for information about “of the provisional ballots that were not counted for the May 10, 2016 election and during the early voting period … how many of them were by voters who tried to register or update their registration using the online system.”
The ACLU also asks for any communications between the clerks offices and the secretary of state, other county clerks, county officials or staff about the online registration system and the petition filed with the Supreme Court over the online registration system, among other information.