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West Virginia County Clerk’s Association explains opposition to For the People Act

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The president of the West Virginia County Clerk’s Association said opposition to a broad federal proposal on voting is based on concerns about protecting states’ abilities to control elections.

“I can see an argument for individual states to try to clean up the procedures that they have enacted in their laws,” Preston County Clerk Linda Huggins said recently on “MetroNews Talkline.”

“I don’t know how anyone can say West Virginia disenfranchises voters.”

Fifty-four of West Virginia’s 55 county clerks signed letters to U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., urging the lawmakers to oppose the For the People Act. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the proposal in March, which would affect voter registration efforts, early voting and the authority of the Federal Elections Commission.

According to Huggins, West Virginia would not be prepared for such changes given the state’s voting equipment and poor internet service.

“We would have to have access to the internet,” she said. “Throughout Preston County and West Virginia, not all areas have internet, so I don’t know how we can keep a person from registering here in Preston County then turn around and drive to Harrison County and register to vote there. It’s just not sensible, and it’s opening the doors for a lot of fraudulent activity.”

Huggins argued West Virginia already has efficient laws in place related to election accountability.

“The federal government is trying to push these changes without actually sitting down and listening to what actually happens in an election,” she said. “Why should all states be the same? Because we’re not the same.”

Monongalia County Clerk Carye Blaney was the only clerk who did not sign the letters. Capito previously shared opposition to the For the People Act, and Manchin has pushed for a bipartisan approach on election-related issues.

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