Warner offers clarity on West Virginia absentee ballot application tampering case

CHARLESTON – Today, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner offered clarification to comments made by the President in Tuesday night’s Presidential Debate. While the debate covered various election issues throughout the U.S., Warner made clear that West Virginia experienced a unique circumstance where a postal carrier altered absentee ballot applications, not ballots.

An astute county clerk readily uncovered the altered applications and quickly turned the case over to the Secretary of State. Prior to the election, Warner had organized an Election Anti-Fraud Task Force consisting of WV’s U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the WV Attorney General, the WV State Police, local law enforcement and the Secretary of State investigations team. The Anti-Fraud Task Force went to work, brought in the regional Post Office Inspector General, and the Task Force had a confession from the postal carrier within days.

The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of WV prosecuted the case, and in July, the postal carrier pled guilty.

“The timely prosecution of election fraud in the 2020 Primary election cycle in West Virginia shows that we take election fraud seriously, that the system we have in place works well. Voters should be confident that this election will be safe, secure, and fair,” Warner said.

Warner said that he shares the President’s concern over the potential for increased election fraud with the increase in absentee voting and in those vote-by-mail-only states where millions of ballots are mailed to voters who haven’t requested them.

However, Warner said that states can mitigate the increase in possible election fraud with effective strategies to deter, investigate, and prosecute those who would attempt to cheat.

Warner praised West Virginia’s 55 county clerks who work tirelessly to prevent election fraud and interference of all types from taking place.

“We have conducted extensive training with clerks and election officials, covering everything from cyber security, to continuity of operations, to preventing and detecting fraud. This was a prime example of a dedicated clerk, closely watching her election process, and quickly reporting an anomaly as she had been trained to do. The system worked, and we were able to rapidly assure the voters of West Virginia that the election was secure,” Warner said.

The Secretary of State’s Office has a toll free phone number to take complaints of improper election activities: 877-FRAUD-WV (877-372-8688).

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