West Virginia

Snapshot: West Virginia has middling scores for ease of voting and ballot security and a low score for how elected officials responded to claims about the 2020 election.

Ease of Voting

Some measures to expand access
4 out of 7 benchmarks

Ballot Security

Some measures to ensure accuracy and security
5 out of 8 benchmarks

What Politicians Say

Several responses that undermined the 2020 election
2 out of 4 benchmarks

The state continues to experiment with online voting, which the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says is “fundamentally insecure.”

In 2018, West Virginia allowed certain voters to return ballots electronically, using Boston-based startup Voatz Inc.

MIT researchers uncovered flaws with the system that could allow hackers to alter or expose how someone voted.

Although the company argued that report was flawed, West Virginia later switched to a different system from Seattle-based Democracy Live.

Another study from MIT researchers found that the system posed a “severe risk” to election security and could allow hackers to alter election results without detection.

Under a 2022 law, first responders who are responding to natural disasters away from their home and people with disabilities can vote electronically.

A separate law passed in 2022 in response to widely circulated conspiracy theories about Dominion voting machines bars electronic voting machines used in in-person voting from connecting to other machines or directly to the internet.


Ease of Voting

Is the state making it easy for eligible voters to register and cast a ballot?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How West Virginia compares to other states
West Virginia
Other states
← Easier to vote
Harder →
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Number of total benchmarks met

According to statistics from University of Florida political science professor Michael McDonald, West Virginia had the fourth-lowest turnout rate among all people eligible to vote in 2020.


Ballot Security

Is the state following best practices to ensure ballot counting is accurate and timely?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How West Virginia compares to other states
West Virginia
Other states
← More secure
Less secure →
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Number of total benchmarks met

Recent legislation makes it a misdemeanor to try to stop or delay a voter from entering a polling place and a felony to attempt to vote more than once in the same election. Another law

bans private donations to run elections, such as the grants that Meta Platforms Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg gave out to other states in 2020.


How Politicians Responded to the 2020 Election

What did the state do in the aftermath of Trump's defeat?
Met 0 out of 0 benchmarks
How West Virginia compares to other states
West Virginia
Other states
← Fewer efforts to undermine 2020 election
More →
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Number of total benchmarks met

Republican Governor Jim Justice initially refused to recognize that Biden had won the election, waiting until mid-December before acknowledging he had won.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey supported a Texas lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to intervene in the election, as did two out of the state’s three Republican US representatives at the time.

One representative objected to certifying Biden electors from Arizona and two objected to Pennsylvania.

Representative David McKinley, who voted to certify both states, lost a Republican primary in 2022 to Representative Alex Mooney, a prominent defender of Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, after the state lost a congressional seat.


Read the full methodology
Story by: Ryan Teague Beckwith and Bill Allison
Graphics by: Paul Murray, Allison McCartney and Mira Rojanasakul
With assistance by: Rachael Dottle, Marie Patino, Jenny Zhang, Gregory Korte, Romy Varghese, Vincent Del Giudice, Nathan Crooks, Margaret Newkirk, Shruti Date Singh, David Welch, Elise Young, Dina Bass, Brendan Walsh, Carey Goldberg and Maria Wood
Editors: Wendy Benjaminson, Wes Kosova, Alex Tribou and Yue Qiu
Photo editors: Eugene Reznik, Marisa Gertz and Maria Wood
Photo credits: Getty Images, Bloomberg and AP Photo