Live Updates: West Virginia Votes In 2020 Election
Nov. 3, 2020 — 11:30 p.m.
Incumbent Mac Warner Wins Race for Secretary of State
Republican Mac Warner will continue as West Virginia's secretary of state.
The incumbent easily defeated challenger Natalie Tennant, who had served in that post for two terms, from 2008-2016, the Associated Press reported.
In the race for state treasurer, Riley Moore was poised to take over from longtime democratic incumbent John Perdue. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Moore led Perdue by more than 81,000 votes, according to the AP.
In the race for state auditor, incumbent Republican John McCuskey will return for another term after beating Democratic challenger Mary Ann Claytor.
Nov. 3, 2020 — 11:10 p.m.
Leonhardt Defeats Beach, Retains Post As State Ag Commissioner
With 71 percent of precincts reporting, Republican and incumbent Kent Leonhardt has won the seat for the state's agriculture commissioner with 64 percent of votes, the Associated Press reported.
Challenger and Democrat Bob Beach received 36 percent of the vote.
Leonhardt ran on a platform to deregulate outdated laws to make farming easier. He was initially elected in 2016.
“After four years, we feel like we are finally on a clear path to grow agriculture in the Mountain State and the voters confirmed that overwhelmingly tonight,”
Leonhardt wrote on his campaign’s Facebook page, acknowledging his win. (CT)
Nov. 3, 2020 — 11 p.m.
Morrisey Defeats Petsonk in Attorney General Race
With 71 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press has called the race for incumbent attorney general Patrick Morrisey.
Morrisey won the seat with 63 percent of the vote. Challenger and Democrat Sam Petsonk received 37 percent.
Healthcare emerged as one of the primary differences between the two candidates. Petsonk ran in support of the Affordable Care Act, while Morrisey publicly opposed it. If the ACA is eliminated, nearly 200,000 West Virginians could lose healthcare.
Morrisey has also been accused of lobbying for opioid companies that he later prosecuted on behalf of the state.
“This is an amazing political rebound and is a testament to the fact that he is a results-oriented attorney general whose allegiance is to the Constitution and rule of law," the Republican Attorneys General Association said in a statement. (CT)
Nov. 3, 2020 — 10 p.m.
Mooney and Miller Win Re-Election to Congress
Two Republican incumbent lawmakers serving in West Virginia’s 2nd and 3rd Congressional districts will keep their seats.
Alex Mooney and Carol Miller have won their respective races, the Associated Press reported.
The incumbents closely aligned themselves with President Donald Trump.
Mooney secured a fourth term representing the 2nd District against Democrat Cathy Kunkel.
In the state's 3rd District, Miller won her second term in Congress against opponent Hillary Turner.
Nov. 3, 2020 — 8:45 p.m.
Justice Accepts Victory, Salango Concedes
Gov. Jim Justice took the stage at his Greenbrier Hotel earlier this evening to accept victory, about two hours after the Associated Press declared him the winner.
Justice, a Republican who first won as a Democrat in 2016 but changed parties in 2017, said he hopes to see more GOP victories this evening.
“I hope and pray we get all our Republican buddies through this tonight,” Justice said. “I hope and pray that we maintain a majority in the House and the Senate. And I hope and pray that every single day that goes by, that we as Republicans are going to bring more and more goodness to West Virginia.” His speech was live-streamed over Facebook.
Meanwhile, Democratic challenger Ben Salango conceded, in front of a smaller gathering, during a speech that was also recorded over Facebook. “Although we didn’t get the outcome we had hoped for tonight, I accept the results and I have full faith in our democracy.”
Salango, a Raleigh County native, attorney and Kanawha County commissioner, says he’ll continue working in local government.
“Our mission continues,” Salango said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done in West Virginia, and I’ll stand up and fight with families all the way.”
Nov. 3, 2020 — 9:10 p.m.
McKinley Wins Re-Election to Congress
The Associated Press has called the 1st Congressional District race for Republican incumbent Rep. David McKinley.
McKinley was opposed by Democrat Natalie Cline.
The Wheeling-born congressman was first elected in 2010 and took office in January 2011. This will mark his sixth term in Congress.
Nov. 3, 2020 — 7:32 p.m.
Associated Press calls West Virginia for Trump, Justice and Capito
Incumbent Republicans have taken key races in West Virginia.
President Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, and Gov. Jim Justice, were all declared early winners as polls closed in West Virginia at 7:30 p.m.
Capito, a longtime political name in West Virginia and the incumbent, ran against Democrat Paula Jean Swearengin, who billed herself as a progressive.
Capito was first elected to the Senate in 2014. She previously spent four years in the West Virginia House of Delegates and 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Eds note: A previous version noted Congressional race wins for incumbents in three districts. Those races have not yet been called by the AP.
Nov. 3, 2020 — 7:20 p.m.
ACLU Hotline Gets Few Significant Election Complaints Thus Far
The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia created an Election Protection Hotline to help voters report any issues they may encounter on Election Day. But the organization heard few serious complaints as of late Thursday afternoon.
A representative from the ACLU told West Virginia Public Broadcasting by early evening that they received calls today from a few people with family members who weren’t able to vote in person at the polls because they were recently hospitalized with COVID-19. These voters experienced issues with requesting emergency ballots.
The ACLU said this issue occurred because the hospitals did not want election workers entering a quarantined floor to deliver a ballot. The ACLU said this was resolved, however, and they were able to put the Secretary of State’s office in touch with those hospital administrators.
The ACLU also received some complaints about poll workers not wearing masks in a couple of precinct locations, as well as some general questions regarding voter ID requirements and handicap accessibility.
The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office reports that so far, voting across the state has gone smoothly. The office said there have been reports of long lines and wait times, but no major problems.
There were some electrical issues Tuesday morning with some voting machines in a few polling places, but these issues were resolved, according to the Secretary of State’s office. (LM)
Nov. 3, 2020 — 6:15 p.m.
Northern Panhandle Voters Vote Values, Express Election Anxiety
A steady stream of voters turned up in the Northern Panhandle all day.
Timothy Harriman of Ohio County voted for Joe Biden. He’s leaning into his Christian values on this Election Day, saying he's he’s worried about the future of the country regardless of the outcome, quoting Jesus.
“And he said 'a house divided against itself cannot stand.' And that’s what we are, a house divided against itself.”
Another nervous Democratic voter from Ohio County, Betsy Sweeny, said working from home on account of the pandemic has given her endless access to the 24-hour news cycle — which has added a lot of stress to her life.
“I don’t really expect a decision tonight. I would love to see a conclusive win in Texas and then sigh a breath of relief but I’m not going to count on that.”
But Sweeny said she's hopeful, especially given reports of high voter turnout.
“The record-breaking numbers of absentee ballots and early voting is really encouraging because I don’t think people behave that way if they’re happy with the status quo," she said. "So that’s what I kind of keep telling myself.” (GB)
Tuesday, Nov. 3 — 5:45 p.m
In the Eastern Panhandle, High Interest, Long Voter Waits
Voting remained extra busy at Berkeley and Jefferson County polls today in the state's Eastern Panhandle area. Many experienced hour-long wait times and crowded lines at some Berkeley County precincts.
Jefferson County voters Robert Willis, 26, and his girlfriend Destiny Evy, 23, voted together. Willis says he didn’t cast a ballot in 2016 and says it was the results of that election that made him want to vote this time around.
“Not voting in the 2016 election made me realize that like, my vote should matter, and it does matter,” Willis said. “So, I wanted to come out here and give my say so and put my input in.”
Both Willis and Evy are registered Independents and voted for Joe Biden.
Voters in the region made their way to the polls today after a busy early- voting period. Voters in Berkeley County who voted early waited for several hours to cast their ballot.
An official monitoring early voting last week in Berkeley County told West Virginia Public Broadcasting that the first day of early voting, on average, was a four-hour wait per voter and remained between a two and three-hour wait in the days following. (LM)
Tuesday, Nov. 3 — 5:20 p.m
In Pinch, Voters Offer Rationale About Their Choices
Angela Myer voted today in Pinch. She said she was voting today because she cares about the environment and women’s issues and identifies more with Democratic ideals. She voted for Joe Biden, but would have voted for Bernie Sanders if that had been an option.
“I think both parties, it shouldn’t be so aggressive towards each other, should be kinder and communicate our ideas toward each other,” she said. “And I am voting today so we can go towards that and be nicer to each other.”
Wendell Archer from Pinch has been going to the polls since 1976. He voted for President Donald Trump, but one of his biggest concerns was the socialism he said he felt was behind Democrat Joe Biden.
“I don’t like the idea of who is behind the candidate that I didn’t vote for,” Archer told West Virginia Public Broadcasting. “I don’t like where that party is headed.”
Stacey Archer from Pinch chose to vote in-person on Election Day because she wanted to wait until the last minute. Her daughter Nicole traveled from Morgantown to the polls with her to vote in her first election.
“One of the big things is you want to give time to hear everything from the candidates. That was a really important thing for me,” she said. “I wanted to hear, up until the day of the election, every possible view and their stances and positions on things.”
Doyle Bailey and Morgan Braley, both of Pinch, voted in their first election together. They both said they supported President Donald Trump.
Morgan, 19, chose to vote in-person in this election for the security of having her vote counted.
“I just trust the physical thing more than the letters sending it through the mail, making sure my vote actually counts rather than getting lost in the mail because I lose packages all the time so it could go either way.”
The race for governor of West Virginia was on Janie Nicols’ mind as she left her polling place. She supported the incumbent, Gov. Jim Justice.
“I feel like our governor has been doing a good job. And I just like that he is a good ol’ country boy and I think he probably has more idea of what our needs are.” (ED)
Tuesday, Nov. 3 — 4:30 p.m
First-Time Voters Share Why They Came Out To The Polls
This year’s general election marks the first time some West Virginia voters will cast a ballot.
For many, but not all first-time voters, 2020 marks the first year they are eligible to vote.
That was the case for 19-year-old Samuel Dyck of Morgantown. He said it was important to him to perform do his “civic duty.”
“It's something that you should always do, because it's one of our rights,” said the West Virginia University student and native of the Mountain State. “It lets you decide on what kind of nation will live in, and it gets your thoughts and ideas out there.”
Dyck said he voted for Republican incumbent President Donald Trump. On top of his mind were concerns over the age of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and the credentials of his running mate, former U.S. Senator Kamala Harris.
Jennifer Young, a 21-year-old Morgantown resident, cast her first vote for Biden.
“I didn't want Donald Trump to stay in,” she said, but added she doesn’t consider herself a political person. Largely she came out to vote at her mom's urging. She said in-person voting at Morgantown High School went smoothly.
Nineteen-year-old Morgan Braley in Pinch chose to vote in person in this election for the security of having her vote counted.
“I just trust the physical thing more than the letters sending it through the mail, making sure my vote actually counts rather than getting lost in the mail because I lose packages all the time so it could go either way,” she said.
Not all first-time voters were drawn to the polls by the names at the top of the ticket. Jackson Rutledge, a 20-year-old in Morgantown, voted for a third-party candidate for president.
“I don't really agree with the Democratic or Republican nominees this year,” he said. “So, I just figured it's important to vote. And, you know, as long as someone's getting a vote that’s what is important.”
And for some voters, like Adam Miller, a first-time voter in Berkeley County, casting his ballot was a chance to have a say in the political discourse of the next four years. Miller, 31, has been registered to vote since he was 18, but said he came out to show his support for Trump and his record.
“I feel like if I don't do it, then I can't complain with everybody else,” he said. (BP)
Tuesday, Nov. 3 — 3:25 p.m
Southern West Virginia Voters Explain Their Choices
There was a steady stream of voters at the polls in Mercer County though lines were short.
Bill Cockerham, a Democrat from Mercer County who retired after working for the Department of Highways, says he voted for Donald Trump.
“I feel the party's left me so I didn't have much choice," he said.
What about the party don’t you approve of anymore?
“Free this, free that, you know, it's just it's not the working man's party anymore," he said.
Still other Democrats like Sylvia Wright are not happy with Donald Trump.
"I'm a registered Democrat. I voted for Hillary Clinton last time and I voted for Joe Biden this time."
Wright says she was undecided until she saw the vice-presidential debate.
"I did not appreciate the way Pence treated Kamala Harris. I felt like he was rude to her, I felt like he took a lot of her time, was very disruptive. And I actually had thought about voting Republican because of him. But when I saw how he treated her and how rude he was to her, I couldn’t vote for him."
Wright says she believes Biden has the best chance of bringing the country back together.
"I'm a born-again Christian. And I feel that people should work together and respect other people's opinions, and not create so much animosity. I feel like Trump doesn't represent any kind of Christian values, in my opinion. He's very divisive."
But she admits that her vote is against Donald Trump, rather than for Joe Biden. She doesn’t support all of the Democrat’s platform.
"I have concerns about Joe Biden. I'm definitely not for abortion, and gay marriage. But I feel like that we have to take the whole picture into account. And I feel like that I'm protecting democracy and people's rights to choose to be a Christian," she told West Virginia Public Broadcasting. "And it's my job as a Christian to love everyone and respect to everyone, and not to persecute any person or individual or make nasty remarks about people."
But as much as she supports Biden, Wright expects the region will vote for Trump, for a variety of reasons.
"I think jobs are a big issue. You know, people are unemployed, when people are unemployed, that brings more stress, more anxiety, more unresolved issues that that exacerbate. You have a lot of drug addiction, more drinking, domestic violence goes up. I think because of the just because of the general stress and jobs and people are scared to death of COVID."
Wright will be watching the results not only to see who wins, but because she’s concerned for how Americans will react.
"When innuendos or remarks are made by Trump, that he's gonna refuse to leave the White House, if he loses. I have real concerns about his innuendos that everything is fraudulent in the voting and the mail system and all of that." (JL)
Nov. 3: 2020 — 2 p.m.
Family Unity, And A Call to Come Together
For the Khan family, showing up at John Adams Middle School in Charleston and voting together was about practicing their constitutional right.
Maheen Khan - who drove to vote with his parents from school in Morgantown - says his family went to the poll, hoping to help elect a candidate who will be less divisive.
“There’s a lot of division right now,” Maheen Khan said. “I really hope regardless of political affiliation, race or religion or anything, people can just learn to love each other and stay together.
“I think we should choose the right candidate, that should all unite us, not break us apart,” Maheen’s father, Mohammed Khan, said. (EA)
Tuesday, Nov. 3 — 3:10 p.m
2020 Election The Last For Voting In Multi-Member Districts
While political experts aren’t anticipating any grand changes in the West Virginia House of Delegates, this will still be a historical election — that’s because it’s the last time voters will cast their ballots in multi-member House districts, where they’re represented by more than one delegate.
By 2022, state leaders plan to enact a new districting law, which Gov. Jim Justice signed in 2018. The bill calls for 100 single-member districts in the House of Delegates.
As of now, most of the state’s multi-member districts hold two delegates. In more populated communities, there can be three delegates. In District 51, encompassing Morgantown, there are five delegates, all Democrats.
“The people who win this election, many of them are then going to be possibly pitted against one another after the redistricting happens,” said Marybeth Beller, an associate professor of political science at Marshall University. (EA)
Tuesday, Nov. 3 — 1:30 p.m
Upholding Democracy, The Lingering Coronavirus Pandemic Top Of Mind As Voters Turn Out
Voters across West Virginia made their way Tuesday to polling places, many expressing a sense of pride in “every vote counting” and upholding the institution of democracy. Those sentiments came from West Virginians voting for candidates of both parties.
At Blennerhassett Middle School south of Parkersburg, Jamie Donahue, 42, and her daughter Seneca, 25, took to the polls mid-morning. They both said the country needs to change for the better and said they voted for President Donald Trump.
“He doesn't always act like you should or talk like he should,” Jamie said. “But he proves himself when he gets things done and he takes care of things.”
For Jamie, who works in the medical field, her biggest issue is health care.
Seneca said she went back and forth on her vote for president and noted that she did like some of Joe Biden’s policies — including his promise to address climate change and confront police brutality against Black Americans.
“I struggled a lot this time but I did end up voting for Trump and I feel good about my vote,” Seneca said.
The coronavirus was also top of mind for the Donahues — as it was for 59-year-old Lisa Bell, a business process analyst with an insurance company.
Bell, a registered Republican, said she was hospitalized with the coronavirus for three days in August. She said she was given oxygen and the experimental drug Remdesivir.
“It was kind of scary being isolated but I was in good hands. I recovered nicely,” she said.
Bell, who cast her ballot at Blennerhassett Middle School Tuesday morning, said she also voted for Trump and said that she has been satisfied by Gov. Jim Justice.
“With the pandemic, everybody’s hands have been tied and everybody’s scrambling to do the best they can,” Bell said. (DM)
Tuesday, Nov. 3 — Noon
And So The Big Day Begins
This year's general election in West Virginia is like no other in the state's 157 year history. Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, turnout for absentee and early voting is significantly higher than in other election years.
According to the West Virginia Secretary of State's office, more than 394,476 voters has cast ballots as of Tuesday morning. With just under 1.27 million registered voters, that equates to a 31.1 percent turnout thus far.
As of Tuesday morning, 141,233 absentee ballots have been reported as received by county. With a total of 153,509 absentee ballots requested, the current return rate stands at 92 percent. In addition, 253,243 turned out for the 10-day, early-voting period across the state.
On the ballot this election is the race for President, one seat in the U.S. Senate, all three of West Virginia's seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, governor, half of the seats in the West Virginia Senate and all 100 seats in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
Polls will be open through 7:30 p.m. — and as a reminder, if you are in line waiting to cast your ballot at that point, your vote will still count if you remain in line and make it to the voting booth.