Whereas the democratic process is a cornerstone to our Republic, the Constitution Party of West Virginia is committed to fair and honest elections of our government representatives. So as to provide the greatest degree of integrity and participation in this important civic activity, we propose the following modifications to the Mountain State’s electoral system:
First and foremost, all ballots must be cast on paper and hand counted by individual poll workers. There is a preponderance of evidence indicating that electronic voting equipment is susceptible to a wide variety of nefarious security breaches. Whereas a notorious dictator famously said “It is not the people who vote that count, rather it is the people who count the votes that matter,” secretly written computer tallying programs have no place in a free and honest electoral process. Most other countries around the world count their ballots by hand with accurate results delivered within less than a day. Expediency and convenience at the expense of accuracy are anathema to our American principles.
For similar reasons, we are opposed to mail-in and online voting schemes which complicate the election process and pose security risks. Voting is a responsibility, not just a right. So called “no excuses” absentee voting undermines the dynamics of political campaigns. Absentee voting should be done in person at the county courthouse via a notarized letter explaining the reason for not being available on Election Day. We support current law which requires employers to provide flexible work schedules without penalty on Election Day so as to allow their employees to have sufficient time to access the polls.
Given that politicians are currently able to vote themselves their own pay raises, it is absurd that filing fees are based on the salary of the office sought. A better method would be to base candidate filing fees on the number of counties involved in the election for that office. We suggest a $20 per county flat rate fee with no filing fees for write-in candidates. Additionally, every county must adhere to the complete letter of the election laws for proper posting of official write-in candidates and all write-in votes must be counted, tabulated, and reported regardless of any opinion of significance. Ballot qualification for political parties should be reduced to ½% of the vote and extended to any statewide candidate, not just gubernatorial.
Since single delegate districts provide enhanced responsiveness to constituent needs and provide the greatest level of accountability, the House of Delegates must be reconfigured to one hundred single member districts. In the meantime, ballot access petition signature requirements for multiple delegate districts must be divided by the number of delegates in that district. Furthermore, we urge our national congressional delegation to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment and return the accountability of the United States Senate to our state legislature. Until such time as this amendment is repealed, our U.S. Senators should be elected by the majority vote of the popular vote winners of each of our seventeen state senate districts. The overlapping 8th and 17th State Senate Districts of Kanawha County must be separated. The nine-county 15th District must be reduced in size.
Similarly, we advocate a district election for presidential electors as is currently used in Maine and Nebraska. And, because it is the Electoral College which actually votes for president, West Virginia should return to placing the individual elector names on the ballot rather than the party nominee or an un-named slate. Because the Electoral College was designed to be a deliberative body of capable decision making persons, elector pledge laws need to be abolished. The above reforms will result in reduced campaign expenditures, greater discourse of pertinent issues, more localized and vibrant elections, and fewer demagogues in the White House.
We advocate ballot position by random selection rather than presidential victory or voter registration figures. So as to encourage an informed electorate, the archaic straight ticket mechanism of voting should be abolished—as has already been done in most other of the several states. This includes eliminating the use of arbitrary party symbols. In fact, since people vote for the individual candidate, all references to political parties should be removed from general election ballots. Because there are no conditions placed upon voter registration party affiliation, candidates wishing to obtain ballot access through an established party primary should be required to petition for their access. We suggest this be in a manner similar to those of minor party and independent candidates, but at half their signature requirement since party ballot access is a recognized achievement.
Since we have four types of public servants, national, State, county and city, the short ballot in which contests for their offices are held in sequential years rather than combined in general elections would have a wholesome influence on reducing voter confusion. Initiative, referendum and recall are incongruent with our republican form of government and should have no place on these simplified ballots. The resultant un-crowded ballot thus becomes much easier to both use in paper form and hand count as outlined above. Ultimately, and because of the tremendous additional cost of primary elections to our state, we feel that primaries should be replaced with simple Iowa-style caucuses all on a designated day and time, spread out throughout the counties in various school gymnasiums, and at the complete expense of the respective political parties. The above measures would simplify to the point of efficiency and effectiveness the vote cast by West Virginia electors.
Adopted as new on April 24, 2010.