With our completely unverifiable, proprietary electronic voting-machines that even election officials cannot examine, we “elected” Jim Justice as Governor.

Justice was — and now again is — a Republican. When I campaigned for Charlotte Pritt, West Virginia Mountain Party gubernatorial candidate, I often heard Democrats say they were voting for Justice because a third party “doesn’t have a chance.”

Well, how do we like him now? Justice recently proposed a budget amendment that increases sales taxes and gives coal still another tax break. And when his proposal was not included in the budget, he refused to sign it.

According to Wikipedia, Justice jumped to a winning count in the election by about the same difference in numbers that Pritt had polled but then lost in the tally. Before the election Pritt was polling at 13% yet received only 5.89% of reported votes. Meanwhile, Justice’s pre-election numbers were behind his Republican contender by roughly 6.5%. Testimonies were given in 2009 before a West Virginia subcommittee that revealed on-going electronic voting machine irregularities in at least six counties. Similar expert testimonies were given in Kanawha County in 1983.

Even so, Pritt received the highest vote for any Green Party-affiliated, gubernatorial candidate in the U.S. — enough to now be included in broadcast debates.

In a highly complimentary, Aug. 10 article, American Prospect Magazine noted that the West Virginia Mountain Party — which takes no corporate money — did best in counties suffering the after-effects of coal. But it failed to mention gas. According to the industry’s own estimates, West Virginia is slated to soon have much more hydrofracturing.

Although this would help the Mountain Party whose platform calls for a fracking ban, West Virginia always loses in extreme-extraction rampages. Our new Governor is a coal company owner, part of the fossil-fuel industry. We are apparently still on that same damaging path.

If West Virginia is to avoid further destruction, maybe we should look at our election process and the media who, with industry help, control public opinion. Third parties, often champions of the people, require fairness to compete. They need equal and accurate media coverage and hand-counted, paper ballots.

Barbara Daniels

Richwood

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