CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Secretary of State Mac Warner announced a major win in an elections case about how parties and their candidates are listed on state ballots.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that not only was West Virginia’s law governing the listing of candidates on election ballots constitutional, it did not present an unfair advantage to one party or the other.
“It’s good to see the Court’s recognition that this is not a partisan law,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “In fact, it’s the opposite of partisan in that it treats all political parties equally. If a party’s presidential candidate gets the most votes in one election, that party’s candidates are listed first in the next one.”
“The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision is win for states’ rights,” said Secretary of State Warner. “This is yet another indication that the state legislature is the proper venue for debating and deciding the rules that govern our elections.”
The court concluded that nothing in the record demonstrated that West Virginia’s statute is unduly partisan. Instead, it said any consequences of this system are not discriminatory but result simply from voters preferring one party to another.
The lawsuit stemmed from legislation passed three decades ago. The West Virginia Legislature created a process to order names on ballots based on political party affiliation. The party whose presidential candidate received the most votes in West Virginia receives the first position in all races for its candidates. This can change every four years based on each election. Over the years the law has benefited both parties.