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Updated on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022 at 10 a.m.
West Virginians returned to the polls again Tuesday.
The GOP maintained its control of the West Virginia Legislature, U.S. Reps. Carol Miller and Alex Mooney have held onto their seats in Congress, and West Virginia voters have rejected all four proposed amendments to the state constitution.
Half of the members of the state Senate were on the ballot along with the entire House of Delegates. This was also the first time voters in the Mountain State voted in the single-member delegate districts and senatorial districts that changed after the 2020 census.
The big items on the ballot, however, were the four proposed amendments to the state constitution. One of those proposed changes would have altered the way counties levy taxes. Another would have given the West Virginia Legislature the authority to issue rules about state school curricula.
Listen to our Nov. 9, 2022 episode of West Virginia Morning to hear more from Election Day 2022.
Visit the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website for results on West Virginia’s races.
Read about all four amendments:
- Amendment 1: The Power To Impeach
- Amendment 2: Eliminating the business equipment and inventory taxes and the property tax on vehicles
- Amendment 3: Allowing Church Incorporation
- Amendment 4: Deciding Authority Over W.Va. Public Education
West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s (WVPB) news team spoke with voters throughout the day. Read the stories below to see what they said.
Southern West Virginia
Our reporter Jessica Lilly has been talking with voters in Mercer County. Voters there are interested to see if proposed amendments will pass. For school teacher Kimberly Yahya, voting is a family tradition.
“We’re full of teachers,” Yahya said. “My uncle is on the Mercer County Board of Education. He’s the president of the board. My sister’s a teacher. My dad was a teacher. So lots of teachers in our family.”
Yahya said she always votes and on this Election Day, her main goal was to vote against Amendments 2 and 4.
“They’re going to take away our public money,” she said. “So I was hoping a lot of teachers would come out in public to support keeping that money in our schools.”
Kim’s daughter Bailey stayed close by her mother while she cast her votes. Bailey said she enjoys the trip to polls and is particularly fond of the sticker.
“We always bring our kids, so that they can see that it’s important to vote, and just set that example,” Yahya said.
Another Mercer County voter, 65-year-old Jeffery Johnson, was interested in Amendment 2 and the potential impact on local finances. Johnson works as a grant writer and project administrator.
“I always vote,” he said. “I believe it’s important to exercise your franchise and cast your opinion, whether you win or lose.”
Johnson said he voted against Amendment 2.
“I wasn’t satisfied with their explanation on how they were going to replace the property taxes for the money needed by the county governments,” he said. “And I think that in the future, when the West Virginia budget might be facing a deficit, they’ll come up with a tax that’s even worse. So I say, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
Johnson said the other amendments, for him, didn’t spark passion for or against.
Voters in the small community of Rand, Kanawha County, told our Assistant News Director Caroline MacGregor they want more accountability in government.
Larry Samples and his wife Carolyn, who are Rand residents, say they are discouraged with their state representatives.
Carolyn is a Republican, while Larry is a registered Democrat who said he votes the way he wants. The couple support different parties but share commonality on a number of issues.
Both voted no to Amendments 2 and 4 and said it is their duty to vote.
“You can’t stay home and not vote and then complain about what’s going on,” Larry Samples said. “You’ve got to get out and participate. Plus, I think the legislature is trying to take over the whole county and I don’t think they need to do that, people need to have some say. I think that is just a power grab.”
Carolyn share’s her husband’s views.
“Like Larry said, they’re just a bunch of clowns. Too much interest on their own instead of working for the public. This isn’t for West Virginia,” she said.
“They make their own decisions and the heck with what the public says,” Larry agreed. “I hope we can get the legislature to settle down a bit.”
North Central West Virginia
This year, voters in Morgantown were motivated to go to the polls by the Constitutional Amendments on the ballot. Reporter Chris Schulz reports that Amendment 2, in particular, was a point of focus.
Amendment 2 would give the West Virginia Legislature the ability to eliminate business equipment and inventory taxes and the property tax on vehicles.
Morgantown voters like Franklin Roberts were concerned that a cut in taxes like the one proposed by Amendment 2 would impact local spending.
“If Amendment 2 passes, it sounds like it could affect the long term ability for the county to pay for important services,” Roberts said.
Roberts and other voters like Heidi Lamb were also concerned by the Amendment’s seeming shift of spending power towards Charleston.
“It’s my opinion that the local communities should be able to dictate how their dollars are spent,” Lamb said. “And I think they are best positioned to do that, as opposed to a centralized government in another part of the state.
For some voters in West Virginia, Tuesday was also the first time they elected only one delegate to the House of Delegates.
Monongalia County’s five member district was the largest multi-member district in the state. Now broken up into five distinct districts, some voters like Ryan Withers were not aware of the change before they stepped into the voting booth.
“I was surprised,” Withers said. “I was expecting to see more.”
Many voters in Morgantown, like Keeley Wildman, expressed concern that the shift to single-member districts was a tactic to shift power.
“I feel that the gerrymandering, so to speak, that has been happening amongst the districts is just a power move to try and divide up what has historically been a pretty largely blue area of Morgantown,” Wildman said.
Voters will have to look on as the results roll in for their former delegates in other districts.
Reporter Amelia Knisely spoke with voters in the Huntington area Tuesday.
Two issues that have dominated headlines in West Virginia drove young people in Huntington to the polls.
For 22-year-old Grace Bouchillon, the recent federal and state changes to abortion rights meant she researched candidates who shared her views. She voted Tuesday at City Hall.
“Having pro-choice for women is really important to me,” Bouchillon said.
Across town at the A.D. Lewis Community Center, 23-year-old Dominic Franzese is new to the area and a new teacher. He said Amendments 2 and 4 motivated him to vote for the first time here.
He said the amendments could potentially affect funding for his schools as he already sees the need for more money to support students emotionally and academically.
“It’s important to support our schools,” Franzese said. “I wanted to do my duty.”
Our Eastern Panhandle Reporter Shepherd Snyder caught up with voters in Berkeley and Jefferson counties Tuesday.
Voters in the Eastern Panhandle say they are concerned about education — more specifically, funding for local public schools. Local teacher and independent voter Steve Malcolm said he came out to vote in favor of candidates that support the local public school systems.
“In the recent years, there’s been a lot of demonization of public schools and teachers, and a lot of funds being diverted and such,” Malcolm said. “So I really just look for people that you know, support teachers, support education and don’t make our jobs any tougher.”
Similarly, independent voter Hezekiah Alford came out to support Berkeley County’s school bond ballot. If passed, the local bond would see more than $124 million go towards the county’s school district.
“I do believe that schools need as much funding as possible. Teachers, the buildings, everything needs to be upgraded,” Alford said. “And inflation has really hit us hard. So without education, we have no future.”
Younger voters are also making their voices heard in Berkeley County. Martinsburg resident and recent Shepherd University graduate Liam Redding said he’s voting Democrat this election.
“Everybody’s vote is important, and especially for a state where the party that I represent is in the minority,” Redding said. “I think that it’s important, even though a lot of the times that the leaders that we want to, in the Democratic Party elect, often fall short.”
But Redding also isn’t opposed to extending his support to politicians from across the aisle.
“If there are Republican leaders out there that I think are going to be good, solid leadership for our community, I will definitely take those leaders into consideration too,” Redding said.
Research from Tufts University said 40 percent of eligible 18-to-29 year olds in West Virginia turned out to vote in 2020. That’s a 7 percent increase from the last presidential election cycle in 2016.