<h2>When the city\u2019s chief elections officer is up for election, how can voters trust the process?<\/h2>\r\nThat is the question being batted around on the Majority Voice Party\u2019s (MVP) Facebook page. Shannon Beatty, the Lewisburg Citizens\u2019 Party candidate seeking re-election to the seat of city recorder, has an answer for those questioning her honesty: \u201cI always do whatever the West Virginia Election Code Book and the Secretary of State\u2019s office tells me to do.\u201d\r\n\r\nPeriod?\r\n\r\n\u201cPeriod.\u201d\r\n\r\nAnd if she is defeated by challenger Al Petrie, will she certify the election results?\r\n\r\n\u201cYes.\u201d\r\n\r\nBeatty says the controversy over her ability to honestly perform her duty as city recorder has caught her off guard. She\u2019s been city recorder since 2004, after becoming the treasurer\/assistant city recorder in 2002. She ran for election the first time in 2005 against Martha Fleshman, and when she won the election, no one wondered whether she had cheated. Until now, \u201cIt\u2019s just never been an issue.\u201d\r\n\r\nShe\u2019s also not alone in her duties: in West Virginia, county clerks and the secretary of state are elected to office, and, even in years they are running for office, they certify the elections. It\u2019s part of the job, and officials take an oath of office and receive training and certification to ensure honesty in the process, Beatty said.\r\n\r\nHowever, if phone calls to her office and posts on social media are to be believed, this city election is different than those before it - it\u2019s more contentious, it\u2019s more emotional, and most of the battle for the open city council seats are being fought from behind computer and smartphone screens by candidates, their spokespeople, and citizens on both sides of the aisle who are passionately defending their party and attacking the opposing one.\r\n\r\nOn Apr. 27, an MVP Facebook page administrator posted the following comment, which is marked as having been edited:\r\n\r\n\u201cWe were informed today by incumbent city recorder Shannon Beatty that she only used three of the fourteen names we provided for election officials. We have yet to confirm those three, as everyone we\u2019ve spoke with thus far shared they were not selected for appointment.\r\n\r\nWe have been informed by other municipalities that their procedure for appointing election officials is to use the county officials who regularly work the polls.\r\n\r\nMrs. Beatty did not follow procedure of other municipalities - who shared they do so to guarantee a fair election - nor did she use the names provided to her at her request when she shared with our representatives that she has difficulty finding enough individuals to volunteer as poll officials.\r\n\r\nWe are understandably concerned that Mrs. Beatty has handpicked poll workers for an election she is running in, intentionally excluding individuals MVP suggested.\r\n\r\nAt least one of the volunteers was called prior to appointments and told by Mrs. Beatty that she could not use her because of her party affiliation - that she had already filled appointments for that particular party. However, does it make sense to make those appointments from another list, rather than pull half the appointees from the MVP\u2019s list and half from the Citizens\u2019 Party list? The WV Secretary of State\u2019s Office is vague in the area of appointments, but it is very clear that consideration should be made during appointment to guarantee equal representation for parties at the polls and during the counting process. It is also clear that this did not happen.\u201d\r\n\r\nMVP party representative Houston Adkins told the <em>Mountain Messenger <\/em>that on Mar. 27, he and party president Mike Teubert (who is the spouse of city council MVP candidate Dorcus Teubert) went to Beatty\u2019s office to ask her to consider using poll workers from an MVP-provided list, and that they were told that she hadn\u2019t yet made up a list of workers and would have it by the end of the week. Beatty asked them to provide 10 names, Adkins said. Two days later, Adkins said, the MVP brought her a list of names.\r\n\r\nIn an interview with the <em>Mountain Messenger<\/em>, Beatty said that she had begun working on her poll worker list in February and March. She said state code requires her to have 24 poll workers, with an equal number of registered Democrats, Republicans and Independents.\r\n\r\nBeatty has been overseeing elections since the early aughts, she said, and has a ready list of people from all three major political parties who are willing and able to work the polls.\r\n\r\n\u201cI like to have my list complete by the time we do the ballot drawing,\u201d she said, referring to the day each candidate draws their name to determine where on the ballot their name falls. MVP members brought her a list of their hand-picked poll workers the day of the ballot drawing, Mar. 28.\r\n\r\nBeatty said that MVP members told her they wanted to make sure there were an equal number of Majority Voice Party members and Citizens\u2019 Party members working the polls. But, Beatty told them that there is no such way for her to differentiate them - she only knows whether workers are Democrat, Republican or Independent.\r\n\r\nBeatty said she has tried to include MVP supporters as poll workers by listing them as alternates on her poll worker list.\r\n\r\n\u201cI looked at openings (on the list) and I added two workers, and then added MVP workers to the alternate list,\u201d she said, noting that as regular poll workers from her original list drop out, she\u2019s only added workers from the MVP-provided list. Moreover, having trained everyone in proper polling procedure, Beatty said she\u2019s confident supporters of both the Citizens\u2019 Party and the MVP are going to work honestly on election day.\r\n\r\nAdkins said he\u2019s pleased with the amount of MVP-approved pollsters Beatty has added to the list.\r\n\r\n\u201cI am very, very encouraged that Shannon Beatty included additional names to the poll worker list from the MVP,\u201d said Adkins.\r\n\r\nOnline, MVP supporters and an unnamed MVP Facebook administrator remain unconvinced. On June 2, a commenter posted this on the MVP Facebook page:\r\n\r\n\u201cJason Crowder with the West Virginia Secretary of State\u2019s office came by Lewisburg City Hall today (6,2,17) to inspect the Early Voter Polls. He affirmed that election procedures and the process for selecting and training poll workers is proper and correct.\u201d\r\n\r\nThis was the MVP\u2019s response:\r\n\r\n\u201cWe were informed by the WVSOS\u2019s office about a week ago that Mr. Crowder will be around sporadically throughout voting as concerns raised by citizens concerning election polling and counting were legitimate and something the WVSOS\u2019s office felt should be monitored closely.\u201d\r\n\r\nThat same day, Donald Kersey, elections director\/deputy legal counsel for the Secretary of State, said the following in an email, which began, \u201cShannon is right.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cBecause folks in municipalities are not \u2018registered\u2019 under their local municipal party affiliations, such local affiliations are not to be considered when determining \u2018opposite political parties\u2019 when appointing poll clerks. And, as Shannon has done, the poll workers must be recommended, appointed, and selected based on their REGISTERED (Kersey\u2019s caps) political parties as they appear in the statewide registration system,\u201d Kersey stated in the email.\r\n\r\nBeatty said that she called the Secretary of State\u2019s office and invited them to inspect the election.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019ve been repeatedly told that I\u2019m doing everything properly and correctly, and that I\u2019m following state code,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\nBeatty continued that since she\u2019s fallen under suspicion by the opposing party, she\u2019s taken extra steps to remove herself from the early voting process.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019m not taking any of the votes themselves,\u201d she said. \u201cUsually I\u2019m in the city council chambers taking votes but I\u2019m staying in my office. Each night the registration books are sealed and locked.\u201d When Beatty does handle the registration books, she said she\u2019s accompanied by a poll worker from each major political party.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe county clerk suggested we do that to reassure voters of fairness,\u201d Beatty explained.\r\n\r\nBeatty said she is confident in the security of the election.\r\n\r\n\u201cEach early voting ballot box has two locks,\u201d she said. \u201cThe mayor and I have the keys, but they are actually locked away from us.\u201d\r\n\r\nBeatty concedes there is an upside to such a contentious election: high voter turnout.\r\n\r\nAs of June 6, she said 222 voters have cast their votes in the municipal election, a number that, in other years, is about equal to the total number of votes cast in Lewisburg. The total number of registered voters in city limits totals 3,559, as of Mar. 28, she said.\r\n\r\nEarly voting ends at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 10.\r\n\r\nElection Day is Tuesday, June 13. Polls open in city hall at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.