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West Virginia Snapshot PDF  | Print |  Email
By Sean Flaherty, Verified Voting Foundation   
May 12, 2008
West Virginia law requires voter-verifiable paper records on all voting systems, and a manual count of 5% of precincts is required as part of the canvass under §3-4A-28(d) of the West Virginia Code. ES&S is the only vendor currently providing equipment in West Virginia. 
  • According to the Secretary of State's web page,  34 counties, with almost 59% of the state's registered voters, live in counties in which the only voting system for polling-place voting is the ES&S iVotronic DRE.
  • In 15 counties, the iVotronic is used for accessibility at the polls, but the primary system is centrally counted optical scan ballots, with the M650 counting the paper ballots. About 21% of the voters live in these counties.
  • 2 counties use hand-counted paper ballots, with the iVotronic for accessibility.
  • 4 counties use optical scan systems, with the AutoMARK ballot-marking device used for accessibility. Only two of these counties, Putnam and Kanawha Counties, possess precinct-count scanners. The largest of these four, Kanawha County, is also the largest in the state, with over 130,000 voters. Kanawha uses the iVotronic for accessibility at the polling place, but the AutoMARK for early voting. 
In all, it seems fair to estimate that the majority of votes cast in the primary will be cast on the iVotronic.  Mail-in absentee balloting requires an excuse, so the vast majority of votes in the DRE counties will, in fact,  be cast on the iVotronic.

As we have noted in previous state snapshots, the paper trail for the iVotronic, known as the Real Time Audit Log (RTAL), has been the subject of some criticism for its design. Printer jams have also occurred with the RTAL, compromising about 9% of the machines in Guilford County, NC in the 2006 general election. The Ohio EVEREST review Academic Team report noted a risk that even voters careful to check the RTAL might not notice if their vote was cancelled quickly after printing. Combined with the severe security vulnerabilities of the machines, this is a serious concern.

The West Virginia Secretary of State's office reports that as of April 25, West Virginia has 1,183,495 registered voters. Each party's primary will be open to independents and to members of that party.  The Secretary of State reports that there are 665,234 registered Democrats,  347,760 Republicans, 156,199 voters registered with no party, and the remainder scattered among small parties.  The in-person early voting period ran from April 23 - May 10.
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