Harrison County Commission dismisses attempt by Republican Executive Committee to throw out absentee ballots

Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 12:24 PM EST
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CLARKSBURG, W.Va (WDTV) - Harrison County Commissioners voted 2-1 to dismiss a complaint filed by the Harrison County Republican Executive Committee attempting to throw out absentee ballots.

The vote comes after an extended period of deliberation and “what-if” scenarios, in which Commission President Ron Watson and Administrator Willie Parker discussed what would happen should the Commission vote to dismiss the case.

By the end of the discussions there appeared to be two ways forward, either the Commission would allow Clerk and Commissioner-elect Susan Thomas to mount a response to the accusations and a special council meeting would be held to deal with the complaint, or they would dismiss the claims, clearing the way for a Supreme Court challenge by the Executive Committee.

The County Prosecutor, Rachel Romano, was not in attendance for the meeting but did discuss these two options with Parker prior to the meeting.

Watson called on an attorney present at the meeting for his insight. That attorney objected to the claims made in the complaint, stating that if a special council meeting were to be held, they would likely need to contact all affected parties, from the two candidates running for Commission, all the way up to the White House.

After some objection to dismissal by Commissioner David Hinkle and the question raised over abstaining from weighing in on the complaint, a vote was called to the floor. Watson and Commissioner Patsy Trecost voted to dismiss the complaint.

“What we have done Patsy is given the Executive Committee on the Republican side more fuel for their fire I reckon. So that will be the next commission that will have to deal with that,” said Watson.

If the Executive Committee were to elevate this issue to the Supreme Court, Commissioner-elect Susan Thomas would be required to abstain from weighing in. Thomas will be taking Watson’s seat in January.

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