Many West Virginians are still angry and embarrassed, wondering how a convicted felon could have gotten on the ballot in West Virginia. Friday, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant held a news conference to clarify, and ease some of the concerns.
In Tuesday's election, Keith Judd ran for President of the United States, a federal office. According to the U.S. Constitution, the only eligibility requirements are: Candidates must be at least 35 years of age; Born in the U.S.; Been a resident for the last 14 years. Consequently, convicted felons, including current inmates, are not precluded from running and Tennant, according to state code, cannot disqualify them.
While the federal eligibility requirements cannot change, some states require candidates to collect signatures in the state in which they are running. If someone is in prison, they obviously wouldn't be able to collect those signatures. That would prevent them from getting on an election ballot.
Currently, West Virginia doesn't require signatures, but State Senator Corey Palumbo says that is one change he might propose during the next Legislative Session.
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