Capito: Election bill won’t pass this session

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The bill proposing several changes in state election laws will not be approved by the legislature this session.

Moore Capito

House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Chair Moore Capito said Wednesday on MetroNews “Talkline” there wasn’t enough time left to deal with Senate Bill 565.

“We have a lot of bills in judiciary and unfortunately didn’t have time to address the issues in that bill this year,” Capito said.

The state Senate passed the bill two weeks ago. It called for changes in the early voting period, reworked the time period when names could be removed from voting rolls and altered the DMV voter registration program.

Capito said Wednesday there were “issues in the bill that we feel need attention.”

He didn’t specify.

Mac Warner

Secretary of State Mac Warner, who supported the bill, accepted the decision made by Capito and the Republican leadership in the House.

“I appreciate the House leadership’s interest in taking additional time to address the election changes in SB 565,” Warner said in a statement. “Taking whatever time is necessary to discuss effective administration of elections instills confidence in our process.”

Capito said it’s possible the bill could be reviewed during the legislature’s off time and come up again next year.

“Whether it’s working those (issues) over the interim process over the summer or whether it’s a work group taking testimony over the summer—-I think it’s beneficiary to the state of West Virginia,” Capito said.

A Monday public hearing on the bill, hosted by Capito’s committee, brought dozens of speakers through a video hookup.

Mercer County Clerk Verlin Moye spoke in favor of moving up the early voting period.

“It gives us badly needed time that we need to prepare for the election.”

Julie Archer

Julie Archer, coordinator of West Virginia Citizens for Clean Elections, said the bill would eliminate two of the most popular days of early voting, Friday and Saturday.

“It’s kind of like stores closing on Black Friday because the cashiers thought it was too much work to ring up all the purchases,” she said.

On Wednesday Warner said he looks forward to “meaningful discussions with the legislature moving forward.”

“Over the last five months, my office has listened to and worked closely with our county clerks to develop the proposed legislation. The proposals offer greater transparency and more efficient election administration,” he said. “This legislation continues West Virginia’s legacy of striking the proper balance between access and security.”

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