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Hoppy Kercheval of WV MetroNews wrote a commentary on August 16 titled “GOP Candidates Find Success in The Big Lie.” He followed up his comment that day on his state radio show by saying yes “ready to move on” of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Respectfully, I offer a different take on Hoppy’s comment to identify the real battleground in America. While the media and supporters refer to the situation as “The Big Lie” what is really at stake here is electoral integrity and voter confidence.

When the media overlook electoral integrity, process transparency and election security, they miss the forest for the trees. His obsession with people obscures his vision of the concepts needed to restore and maintain voter confidence in elections.

As our state’s chief elections officer, it’s important to me to encourage West Virginia voters to see the whole picture as we head into the November 8 federal election. The media coverage of the 2020 election and its subsequent criticism of those who dare to speak out about improprieties and improprieties has polarized America. Advocates say: “Nothing to see here, move on,” and candidates on both sides of the aisle alleging the election was stolen, along with media coverage, erodes voter confidence.

The reality is that people across the country want adherence to the rule of law, people want transparency, and people are looking for a balance between access to the polls and election security.

The bottom line is that there are unanswered claims that there were more votes “outlaw” as prescribed by state legislatures that Biden’s margin of victory in battleground states in the 2020 presidential election. Outlaw votes are not necessarily illegal votes; are votes cast through a process that goes beyond the intent of state legislatures and is given the appearance of authority given by a decision of the election administrator, a consent decree, or a court decision that approved a action beyond what the laws of the states provide.

Illegal voting includes examples such as the trafficking of votes to ballot boxes in excess of the number allowed by state law; ballots accepted after the election, even though the law of that state requires the ballots to be at the polls; and votes counted without signatures or addresses as required by state law. When votes are counted but state-specific laws suggest otherwise, they are inadequate and the processes are irregular.

People who question these irregularities and irregularities are not election deniers. They are people who want integrity in our elections and, in turn, confidence in the results.

The US Constitution is clear. Article 1, Section 4 says that the times, manner and places of elections shall be left to the state legislatures. Once legislatures enact election laws, it is the duty of election officials to conduct elections in accordance with those laws. If the law states that ballots must be signed, that ballots cannot be left in excessive numbers, and that ballots that arrive after the legal deadline are not counted, those laws must be followed. We should encourage adherence to these laws and not make fun of people who question officials and actions that are inconsistent with state laws.

When members of the media insist that claims of fraud were false and these allegations “have been adjudicated”, they focus on a national narrative that ignores the bigger problem. Be quick, West Virginia voters, and keep asking questions. Volunteer to be a poll worker, attend sessions where employees authenticate voting machines, watch officials count votes and observe the poll. Your participation in the process will hold people accountable and you can help ensure the integrity of the election.

Like football teams reviewing tape after a game to see what went well and what they could do better, the people of America want better transparency, better state laws, and only law-abiding votes counted . As in our legal system, process is important. By adhering to the rules for elections prescribed by our state legislature, West Virginia has reached the top tier of states whose voters have high confidence in our elections – we’re keeping that momentum going in elections this November

America’s real battleground is securing the vote and balancing access to elections with security. The battle will be won through adherence to the rule of law and growing confidence in our electoral process. It is not to insult and turn a blind eye by saying: “Nothing to see here, go ahead.”

Mac Warner is the Secretary of State of West Virginia. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the WVU School of Law.

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