Associated Press Published

Judge Orders Cabell Clerk to Register Voters Online

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 Following a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia, a federal judge has ordered Cabell County Clerk Karen Cole to accept and process online voter registrations.

Cole has stood her ground before on her refusal to process online voter registrations. The ACLU unsuccessfully sued her during the 2016 primaries in the spring, when she told West Virginia Public Broadcasting that she had concerns regarding the security of registering online. 

“The issue that we have is when we receive the information over the Secretary of State’s online voter registration program, is that it doesn’t provide us with all the information that the law requires that we have to have in order to register a voter,” she said in the spring.

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia filed the proposed class-action lawsuit Thursday against Cole in U.S. District Court in Huntington. The suit alleged that Cole’s decision violated the 14th Amendment. 

“The 14th Amendment has both an equal protection requirement and a due process requirement. And when it comes to voting cases, those two really merge together,” Jamie Lynn Crofts, the legal director for the ACLU of West Virginia, told West Virginia Public Broadcasting last week. “Voting is such a fundamental right that you can’t have it be different based on where in a state a person lives.”

Crofts added that the online voter registration form actually requires more identifying information about the person registering than the paper form does. 

Those who registered to vote online in Cabell County prior to the Oct. 18 deadline will be able to vote in the general elections on Nov. 8.