The State Supreme Court of Appeals ruled 4 to 1 Monday that Erik Wells would not be on the ballot in Kanawha County in the November general election. Wells had filed to run for the office of Kanawha County Clerk as an Independent, although he was a registered Democrat.
That ruling has far-reaching effects this election season as several counties are facing similar situations – Pocahontas County, included.
As reported in early August, Johnny Pritt, of Marlinton, filed a petition and paid the filing fee to have his name added to the general election ballot as a candidate for Pocahontas County Assessor.
Pritt filed to run as an Independent, although it was later found that he is a registered Republican.
On August 24, a Writ Quo Warranto – legal challenge – was filed by Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney Eugene Simmons at the request of current assessor Tom Lane.
Several issues were brought to bear in this matter, but Pritt’s voter registration was at the center.
Item 8 of the petition states in part: “Respondent Johnny A. Pritt has announced his candidacy for the position of the County Assessor in Pocahontas County, as a candidate independent of any organized party… Johnny A. Pritt, in his Candidate Certificate of Announcement, specifically failed to mention his affiliation with the Republican Party.”
Pritt’s voter registration issue mirrored the Wells case in Kanawha County, so everything has been on hold for several weeks awaiting the supreme court’s decision in the Well’s matter.
In his petition to the court, Simmons asked that Pritt be barred or removed from the November ballot, as he failed to file a proper certificate of nomination.
Based on the supreme court’s ruling, Circuit Judge Robert E. Richardson entered an order September 12, 2016, which disallows Pritt’s candidacy. His name will not be on the November general election ballot.
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at email@example.com