Updated 2/24/2012 6:45 P.M.
It's nearly two months before early voting begins-and nearly two and a half months before primary election day. But within the next month, county clerks across West Virginia face ballot deadlines to get ready for those elections.
"We've already done our draw for ballot position," says Jamie Six, Wood County Clerk. "We're working with printers now because of the layout of the ballot, and we have to have those ready because we mail those on March 23 for the military and other people overseas. Absentee ballots must go out on that day."
The potential delay is due to a dispute between two candidates: one the incumbent, the other a former senator, seeking the third district state senate seat. The secretary of state's office, which has to certify candidates running for office, says it is taking a neutral stance on the matter.
"Our office's only involvement is to ask the court not to create any unintended consequences that might go against a long-standing practice, proceedure or court ruling," says Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.
Deem says the constitutional requirement that the district should not be represented by two senators from the same county needs to be changed. The district's other state senator, David Nohe, who defeated Deem two years ago in the Republican senate primary, is from Wood County. Long-time Senator Doley is from neighboring Pleasants County.
Currently, the ballot deadline most in doubt would affect people currently out of the country.
"We have people in other counties who want to vote also, because they're serving our military or in other places," Six says. "We need that time frame to get that to them, and back to us. We don't want to disenfranchise those folks."
The third senate district includes Wood and Pleasants counties, where Deem and Boley are from. But it also includes Wirt and part of Roane County.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A Senate candidate is asking the state Supreme Court to dismiss an opponent's petition seeking his removal from the ballot.
Frank Deem's lawyers argue that the West Virginia Constitution's residency requirement denies Wood County citizens in the 3rd Senatorial District an opportunity to run for the Senate.
The district includes Wood and Pleasants counties. The constitution says both senators in a multi-county district can't be from the same county.
Deem faces Sen. Donna Boley in the upcoming May Republican primary. Boley filed a petition with the court last week challenging Deem's candidacy because he's from Wood County.
The district already has a senator from Wood County who's not up for re-election this year. Boley is from Pleasants County.
The Charleston Gazette reports that Deem's lawyers filed their response Tuesday.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)