MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Election Day in West Virginia brings two congressional races, four constitutional amendments, 17 Senate district races and 100 House of Delegates races.
When: General Election polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Find your polling place online https://sos.wv.gov/elections/Pages/GoVoteWV.aspx
Early, in-person voting started Oct. 26 and wrapped up this past Saturday.
West Virginia MetroNews stations will be providing results and reaction on a broadcast anchored by Hoppy Kercheval and Jeff Jenkins throughout Election Night. Jordan Nicewarner, Marsha Chwalik, and the Panhandle News Network team will bring you local returns during the broadcast, as well.
The MetroNews website will also provide updated results online at https://wvmetronews.com/
The West Virginia Secretary of State’s site will also be posting unofficial results. The results don’t become official until the canvassing process is completed.
What was turnout like for early voting? West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner talked about early voting in the Eastern Panhandle.
More than 130,000 West Virginians have already participated in early, in-person voting, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. And 14,303 absentee ballots have been requested.
To compare: 802,726 West Virginians voted in the 2020 General Election, 597,149 in the 2018 General Election, 732,362 in the 2016 General, 462,864 in 2014 and 685,099 one decade ago.
That low point in the off-year 2014 election represented 37.8 percent turnout.
West Virginia has 1,153,232 registered voters, according to the most recent figures from the Secretary of State.
What races are on the ballot?
U.S. House: 1st District, incumbent Congresswoman Carol Miller (R) vs. challenger Lacy Watson (D) and 2nd District, incumbent Congressman Alex Mooney (R) vs. former Morgantown councilman Barry Wendell (D). West Virginia’s congressional districts changed after the most recent Census, with the state losing its third seat.
West Virginia Senate: 17 of 34 seats are on the ballot this year. Most recently, the Senate has had 23 Republicans and 11 Democrats.
State House of Delegates: All 100 seats are on the ballot. This year, for the first time, West Virginia has 100 single-member House districts. Before, some districts were multi-member. The House of Delegates most recently has had 78 Republicans and 22 Democrats.
In Berkeley County, voters will consider a nearly $1.25 million School Levy.
The proposed school bond of $124,490,000 proposes new construction, renovations, and additions as well as major repairs, replacements, updates, improvements and/or enhancements of current facilities that cannot be financed through an annual school district operating budget.
According to information from the school system, If the bond passes, there is a potential for an additional $25,000,000 from the West Virginia School Building Authority.
Berkeley County is the second largest and fastest growing school district in West Virginia, Berkeley County Schools (BCS) serves 19,679* students through 32 school locations.
Berkeley County Schools could add as many as 4000 students by 2031.
The most recent school bond ($51.5 million) to address enrollment growth and capacity was approved by the voters in 2009. It will expire in 2025. This same bond was refunded and refinanced in 2020 to save interest costs.
In the city of Martinsburg, voters will be asked to renew the police levy. Police Chief George Swartwood says the levy means nine members of the department can stay.
Besides local races and levy issues, all West Virginia voters will see ballot measures reflecting four proposed constitutional amendments.
Amendment One: Can the courts intervene in West Virginia impeachments?
There’s a whole history here about the West Virginia Legislature impeaching the entire state Supreme Court. The impeachment trial in the Senate came to a halt after intervention in the court system contended lawmakers hadn’t followed their own procedures and had crossed a boundary into the judicial code of conduct.
Passage of this amendment would explicitly state a barrier to that kind of intervention.
This is explained as, “No court of this state has any authority or jurisdiction, by writ or otherwise, to intercede or intervene in, or interfere with, any impeachment proceedings of the House of Delegates or the Senate conducted hereunder; nor is any judgment rendered by the Senate following a trial of impeachment reviewable by any court of this state.”
Amendment Two: Should the Legislature be able to shift property taxes?
This one has caught much of the political attention, with the governor and state legislative leaders at odds on the proposed amendment.
This is the summary: “To amend the State Constitution by providing the Legislature with authority to exempt tangible machinery and equipment personal property directly used in business activity and tangible inventory personal property directly used in business activity?and personal property tax on motor vehicles?from ad valorem property taxation by general law.”
Amendment 3: Should West Virginia’s constitution allow churches to incorporate?
Amendment 3 will ask West Virginia voters whether religious institutions should be allowed to incorporate. West Virginia is the only state in the country that does not allow that.
That’s because the state inherited the provision from Virginia and never changed it. Virginia made its own change 20 years ago after the limitation was struck down by a federal judge.
The summary is simply: “To authorize the incorporation of churches or religious denominations.”
Amendment 4: Should the Legislature have more oversight of education policies?
The amendment would specify that the Legislature, which has authority over the rules for most state agencies, would gain the same sway over the state Department of Education’s regulations and guidelines.
A big factor is that the Constitution already gives general supervisory authority to the state Board of Education. That resulted from an earlier amendment in 1958.
This is what it says: “The purpose of this amendment is to clarify that the rules and policies promulgated by the State Board of Education, are subject to legislative review, approval, amendment, or rejection.”