Members of the state Supreme Court openly questioned Tuesday why the State Election Commission didn’t consider a 1992 opinion about ballot vacancies when it decided to keep a spot open on the Kanawha County ballot. At issue is whether the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee should be allowed to replace Del. Suzette Raines on the ballot in the 35th District delegate race after Raines withdrew from the race. The SEC decided Aug. 13 Raines’ reasons to get out of the race didn’t meet the standard needed to replace her. Republicans are challenging the ruling. The case was argued for 45-minutes before the High Court Tuesday afternoon.
Justices wondered out loud why the SEC didn’t consult the 22-year-old case Cravotta v. Hechler where then-Justice Tom Miller authored an opinion that ballot vacancies should be “liberally construed” to provide a full selection of candidates for voters.
“That ridiculous,” Justice Allen Loughry concluded. “I would hope to goodness that the State Election Commission and the Secretary of State, charged with enforcing the election laws of this state, would understand what the election laws are.”