Meet the Candidates: Secretary of State | Politics

In the race for secretary of state, incumbent Republican Mac Warner faces Democratic challenger Natalie

In the race for secretary of state, incumbent Republican Mac Warner faces Democratic challenger Natalie Tennant, who previously held the office. The following are excerpts from an HD Media candidate questionnaire.

Natalie Tennant (D)

What changes in current election laws would you recommend to make voting safer and more accessible?



Natalie Tennant

Tennant




I would implement automatic voter registration. It was passed by republicans and democrats four years ago and still has not been implemented by the current secretary of state. It’s long past due because it brings more efficiency and breaks down barriers. I’d also explore ranked choice voting and risk limiting audits.

What changes need to be made in the way that campaign donor identities and campaign expenditures are made to the public?

There is too much money in campaigns. Campaign contribution limits should not have been raised in West Virginia. We need to have a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and take dark money out of politics.

What would be your priorities for the secretary of state’s office to accomplish in the next four years?

I will take a transaction fee off of businesses that the current secretary of state placed on them. I’ll restore an online chat to make it easier for customers to connect with the secretary of state office. I have a record of being an innovator and I will continue to make it easier to do business and vote in West Virginia.

What experience, training or education do you have that would make you an effective secretary of state?

I’m the most qualified and effective secretary of state because I have eight years experience and additional work as a national voting rights expert. I have a record of bringing technology and innovation. I will be brave so West Virginia can be bold. It will take courage, vision and cooperation. I know we can do this West Virginia. I believe in you.

Mac Warner (R-incumbent)

What changes in current election laws would you recommend to make voting safer and more accessible?

Due to COVID-19, clerks sought options to run elections. They liked voters having to request absentee ballots, but still able to vote in person. I provided what they sought. We should keep the ability to open polls with only three poll workers and allow clerks to process (not count) absentee ballots during the 10 days of early voting.



Mac Warner

Warner


What changes need to be made in the way that campaign donor identities and campaign expenditures are made to the public?

West Virginia undertook substantial campaign finance reform in the last legislative session, and that reform addressed some of the major issues that were needed. Heightened transparency, more frequent reporting, and fines for late filing of finance reports were some of the needed improvements. We can still encourage faster reporting of larger donations.

What would be your priorities for the secretary of state’s office to accomplish in the next four years?

Continue to clean bad data, not people, from voter registration list, giving West Virginia accurate turnout reporting for the first time in over a decade. Continue to improve the Business One-Stop I started in my first year. Continue improving internet and phone connectivity between state agencies to improve the customer service experience.

What experience, training or education do you have that would make you an effective secretary of state?

I transformed the office: Replaced the 2002 outdated system; put business platforms online for 24/7/365 access; it’s easier than ever to start a business; and elections are more secure than ever. It’s easy to vote and hard to cheat. My career of public service has trained me extensively to lead people, manage large systems, and serve customers.

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