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Local candidate taken out of race due to ballot mix-up

WTAP News @ 11
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 8:35 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - One candidate running for the Wood County Republican Executive Committee is out of the race due to a mix-up on the ballots.

It’s been a trying election season. Census data publication was pushed back, which pushed back redistricting, precincts were changed, and the state-wide voter registration system glitched, forcing local election officials to manually update precincts.

Now, on the second day of early voting, officials realized that candidate Jeff Smith was on the wrong ballot.

Smith found out that day as well.

He said, “Somebody had checked the sample ballots today and was telling me that they did not see my name for where I live at then I looked and did not see my name on the sample ballots.”

Smith was listed in district C6, but he lives in district C8.

County Clerk Mark Rhodes double-checked with the secretary of state’s legal council about what this means for the election.

Rhodes said, “The filing is recorded at the wrong district so basically that makes him ineligible to serve, even if he is elected.”

There’s no way for Smith to run now and it’s too late to fix the ballots, according to Rhodes.

The lone candidate for district C8 will now win due to having no opponents.

Rhodes said, “One of the first things I did was look at the C8 district and there is somebody who is running for that. If there was nobody running for it, then the committee could actually appoint him.”

As for district C6, since Smith was the only one on the ballots, members of the executive committee will appoint someone to fill the position.

Rhodes said he’s not sure what caused the mistake. It’s either something got mixed up with redistricting or Smith entered in his information incorrectly.

Smith, however, doesn’t think the mistake was on his end.

He said, “It just goes back when people tell you our elections are not flawed…they are. I mean, this is…there should be more checks and balances…,”

Smith said he was running in hopes of making a difference in the community.

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