MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Not every voter in Martinsburg was able to weigh in on the recently passed Police Levy.
That oversight was not the fault of Martinsburg city leaders according to the Berkeley County Office of Voter Registration who blamed the issue on the recent redistricting.
Last week, the Berkeley County Office of Voter Registration offered clarification and an apology regarding the recent Martinsburg Police Levy Renewal Election which said “a few people within the city of Martinsburg” may not have had the police levy on their ballot.” The announcement goes on to say, “for that, we sincerely apologize.”
The County registration office is putting plans in place to make sure the precinct issues do not happen again, according to the notice.
The levy passed by the required supermajority, at 65 percent to continue another five years.
City Attorney Kin Sayre tells The Panhandle News Network because of recent change in law adopted by the West Virginia Legislature, the City of Martinsburg is not able to hold its own election for the levy.
“The City became aware of the potential issue with the election during the first day of the early voting period. The City reached out to the County Clerk to make sure that every voter in the City would receive the correct ballot. It was also suggested to the County Clerk that a sign should be posted at all of the city precincts to notify the voters of the potential issue and to have the City Recorder deputized as an election official to assist the poll workers on the day of the election,” according to Sayre.
He says it is unfortunate that some of the residents of the City of Martinsburg did not get a chance to vote on the police levy. “Pursuant to State Law the County Commission was charged with the canvass and certification of the election. The County Commission canvassed the election including all of the City’s Precents and they were able to certify that the levy received more than 65% approval of the police levy.”
“The time period to challenge the results and/or set aside the election has expired. Therefore, based upon that certification and the overwhelming support of the Citizens the results of the election will be honored by the City.”
Sayre says at 4:45 pm on Monday, before the election the City was informed by the Berkeley County Clerk Elaine Mauck that she would not post the sign or allow the City Recorder to interact with the poll workers “based on information allegedly provided to her by the West Virginia Secretary of State.”
“The West Virginia Secretary of State has subsequently informed the City that the Secretary of State’s Office would not prohibit the placement of a sign of deputization of the City Recorder to assist poll workers.,” according to Sayre.
“In the afternoon of election day we were informed that there was an issue with the ballots. The proper ballots were available at each precinct, however some of the city voters were given an incorrect ballot. This appears to have taken place in every city precinct. The City Recorder immediately went to the Clerk’s office and again tried to remedy the issue,” Sayre says.
“The assertion that 4 of the 9 precincts were not provided the ballot with the levy is not correct,” says Sayre. “I have reviewed the information form the County and it appears that there are votes on the Levy in all of the 12 city precincts, however it does appear that a number of City residents were not provided the correct ballot.”