CHARLESTON, W.Va. — County clerks across the state are busy preparing for October’s road bond election.
There’s a lot for the clerks to do, Secretary of State Mac Warner said.
“As soon as the Governor made the announcement that he was calling for this election (Oct. 7), they’ve gone to work,” Warner said. “There’s a schedule with an almost day-by-day account of what has to happen, and they are busy at it.”
Voters will be asked to allow the state to bond money from recent tax and fee increases to finance a few billion dollars in highway construction projects. Increases are already in effect for DMV fees and the wholesale component of the gasoline tax. The increase are expected to bring in about $130 million. The governor wants to use the money to produce more money in the bond mark.
The first weekend of October will here before you know it and county clerks will be busy, Warner said.
“There are issues such as counties having to change a precinct or polling location,” he said. “You can just imagine in a short amount of time like this, people have scheduled weddings and other things that may conflict with where a polling place may have been.”
Warner said the out of season election will expensive.
“We have polled the clerks, we have heard back from most of them, and it looks like it is going to be north of two million dollars,” Warner said. “The counties pay for that initially, but the Governor’s office reimburses them after the fact.”
At such a large cost, Warner said he wants to see all West Virginian’s making their voices heard at the poll.
“We want to hear from all West Virginians to see whether they want to pay for this additional burden to have better roads, it is a clear issue,” Warner said. “The Secretary of State’s Office takes no position in this one way or the other, but we do encourage people to get out and vote because we want the people of West Virginia, who will be paying for this, but who will also be benefiting from new roads, to have a voice whether they want to go this direction or not.”
Warner said those not available on election day will have the opportunity to vote early during an early voting period that will begin 10 days before Oct. 7.
Nick Casey, the Governor’s Chief of Staff, recently commented on the election, agreeing with Justice that if it does not pass the state would be done.
“The results of the budget we got, which cut all sorts of different stuff and did not raise any extra revenue, has put squarely on the shoulders of West Virginia the success of these roads,” Casey said. “If these roads are not successful in boosting the economic activity that we wanted, we are going to be a couple hundred million dollars upside down.”
This will be a single issue election, with the road bond the sole issue on the ballot.