The eight newly elected members of Charleston City Council will face an unusual task almost as soon as they’re sworn in June 21: deciding whether the recent election was held properly.
Janet “JT” Thompson, the Democrat challenger whom Danny Jones soundly defeated in winning his third term as mayor, filed a “notice of election contest” late Friday, alleging a number of irregularities in the May 17 municipal election. As far as City Attorney Paul Ellis can figure out, the new council will preside over Thompson’s protest.
“There’s a 1919 West Virginia Supreme Court ruling that it’s the elected council, not the council that was in at the time of the election, that will act as the judge to make a determination in the challenge,” Ellis said Tuesday. “It appears [the ruling] is still in effect.
“We’re not going to have a clear view of the procedure for a few days,” he said. “There does not seem to be much precedent. It’s a new one for us.”