Proposals for executive committees discussed

PARKERSBURG – Possible changes in the political party executive committee districts could mean savings in election costs and manhours.

Wood County Clerk Jamie Six and deputy clerk Melody Ross from the voter registration office met Thursday with Harold Brown, chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee, and Greg Smith, chair of the Republican Executive Committee, to discuss potential cost-cutting changes that might be mutually agreeable to both committees.

Executive committee members run every four years. Committee members can be chosen by magisterial district or committee districts. Committee districts are used in Wood County. There are 24 executive committee districts. One male and one female total can be elected per district per party.

In 2010, the last election in which the political party executive committee members were elected, there were a total of 78 different ballot styles. Eight of those ballot styles were printed that had no candidate filed. There were a total, of both parties, of 31 seats in which no one filed to run. Vacancies can be filled by the committee chair.

“We have been discussing this for a little over a year now, it’s an ongoing discussion. If we could get the number of ballot styles down the county would save money, and there would also be less overtime by staff needed for election preparation,” Six said.

Proposals will be presented for the chairmen to take back to their respective committees for consideration. At this point in time, the chairs said it would probably be spring before the committees could consider possible changes. The next executive committee election is 2014.

Wood County has three magisterial districts, A, B and C.

“There are some counties in the state that still use three,” Brown noted.

Six said at some point the executive committees used to have 24 members then they changed to 48.

“You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. In some counties they only have six,” Smith said. Executive committee chairs noted in counties that have fewer numbers, there are usually very active political party clubs that help with the workload.

“Some committee members don’t like it, some are concerned it might mean parts of the county might get more representation than others,” Brown said.

“We can work on trying to address those concerns so it’s a mutually agreeable proposal,” Six said. “We just want to see if there is some meeting ground, a possible compromise. Maybe we could combine some and not others. It would help us tremendously even if we could just do some. We are just trying to simplify the ballot procedure, save time and money,” Six said.

Committee chairs said they would like to see more numbers and information.

Two moves, required by changes resulting from the 2010 census, must be made. Those changes will be in effect for the 2014 election. In District A-7, Precinct 38 was moved to District B and Precinct 69, which was in District C4 was moved to District A.

In addition to working with their parties political candidates, the executive committees provide the lists of pollworkers and alternates for the clerk to submit to the county commission for consideration.