Michelle Holly

Ready or not, another election season is rapidly approaching.

And current office-holders who want to remain in office as well as others who are planning on seeking election are beginning to formulate and even finalize plans for 2022.

One of the former, current Fayette County Clerk Michelle Holly, announced her reelection bid last week.

Hoping to remain in office after the upcoming 2022 election, Holly said in a Nov. 10 press release she feels the work she has performed since taking office in November 2020 should give the public good reason to cast a vote for her next year.

"Now, more than ever before, it is critically important that the citizens of Fayette County have confidence in the absolute honesty and integrity of our election process," Holly said in the release. "As county clerk, I have worked hard to oversee our public elections so that people can have trust in this important office.

"I look forward to the opportunity to continue my commitment to safe, secure and accessible elections through my campaign for this office."

Holly was first elected to the office in the 2020 general election to fill the unexpired term of the former clerk, Kelvin Holliday. Her candidacy for reelection is for the full six-year term beginning in January 2023.

During her tenure in office as the county's chief elections official, Holly has reorganized the elections office and advocated for passage of legislation to make West Virginia elections safe, secure and accessible to the public, she said. She has also sought to implement changes to improve online access to document indexes for public records, as well as expanding customer payment options through acceptance of credit card payments.

Holly emphasized a continuing commitment to "improved efficiencies" within the clerk's office, as well as expressing the belief that all citizens seeking services should be treated in an efficient, professional and courteous manner.

• • •

According to the Elections Division in the office of West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, races on the ballot in 2022 will include U.S. House of Representatives, state Senate and House of Delegates, state executive committee, Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District, county commission, county clerk, circuit clerk, board of education, district and county executive committees, and conservation district supervisor.

The primary election is scheduled on May 10, 2022. The general election is set for Nov. 8, 2022.

The candidate filing period will run from Jan. 10-29.

For more information on a variety of election-related issues, visit https://sos.wv.gov/elections/Documents/West%20Virginia%20Election%20Calendar.pdf.

Warner has released the 2022 Running for Office Guide, which offers detailed guidance to political candidates for the upcoming state elections. The guide can be found at sos.wv.gov/elections.

Warner said that candidates interested in running for office in 2022 should review the House of Delegates, State Senate and Congressional district maps located at GoVoteWV.com. Candidates should contact their county clerk to confirm the district based on their legal residence.

In addition to residency requirements, candidates for partisan nominations in the May 10 primary election must not have been a member of another recognized political party for at least 60 days prior to filing to become a candidate.

The guide also includes the financial reporting requirements for candidates, candidate committees and political committees.

According to Warner, voter registration and a 2022 election calendar can also be accessed online at GoVoteWV.com.

Local county clerk's offices can be reached at 304-574-4226 (Fayette) or 304-357-0130 (Kanawha).

• • •

Warner on Monday launched a new strategy to report election law violations by cell phone when he introduced the "See Something, Text Something!" election security campaign. According to a press release, the program will leverage the technology of common communication devices to quickly and securely report allegations of wrongdoing directly to the WVSOS Investigations Division. It will run through the November 2022 general election.

Warner said the "text to report" technology makes it easier than ever to report possible violations. He says he sees a double benefit of this program: on one hand, the easy-to-use text to report technology will encourage people to report possible election fraud, while on the other, the accessibility and speed of the ability to report will deter offenders from engaging in errant behavior. With investigators situated around the state, an immediate transfer of information will allow them to get to work quickly, Warner stressed.

Possible violations of election law can be confidentially reported from any common texting device in three easy steps:

• Text "WV" to 45995. Message and data rates may apply.

• Click on the incoming text link.

• Submit the confidential complaint.

The user-friendly complaint form can be viewed online at https://txt2vote.2vote.mobi/WV/complaint.php.

Once submitted, the complaint is received immediately by the WVSOS Investigations Division for action with a notice of receipt upon submission. By state law, WVSOS employees are not permitted to discuss any election investigation or complaint.

"In West Virginia, we're continuing our effort in making it easy to vote and hard to cheat," said Warner. "The general public plays a vital role in helping my office and our county clerks keep elections fair and secure."

Lee Durham, CEO of Global Mobile, the company providing the technology for the platform, said, "We are very excited to support the security efforts of the West Virginia Secretary of State making reporting of election issues as simple as possible."

A national study released by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the 2020 election cycle reported that West Virginia was one of the top 10 states in the nation in voter confidence, according to the press release. Last month, Democracy Works, a national non-partisan organization, presented the Warner's office with the organization's "Voter Information Project VIP Partner Award" for effective communication with voters and transparency with the general public.

Email: skeenan@register-herald.com or follow on Twitter @gb_scribe

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