Bath County Registrar gives current information

It would be hard to miss the massive attention on National Politics right now, and Allegheny Mountain Radio wants to make sure residents across the listening area know how to join in the process. Bath County General Registrar, Charles Garratt told us where to start if you know you will not be at home on November 8th.

“Many states have what’s called early voting, but in Virginia we do not technically have early voting. We have absentee voting. And what that means is, if you are not going to be able to be at the polls on Election Day, whether you’re taking a personal vacation; you’re a primary caregiver; you work outside of the county; there’s a list of things that qualify you for an absentee ballot, then you may apply to have a ballot mailed to you, and that ballot can be mailed anywhere in the world, so if you’re stationed overseas, we can send you a ballot overseas. Or, if you’re in Bath County, right now starting this past Friday, and going through the Saturday before the election, you can come into the office here in the courthouse, first door on the right, fill out an application; bring your photo ID, and you can cast your ballot right now. Voting is going on for the Presidential Election now, if you qualify for an absentee ballot.”

While the mainstream media is non-stop with its information, Charles reminded listeners, there may be things about the election that voters have not yet considered.

“This year, much to most people’s surprise, there are five on the Virginia Ballot. Now one of the confusing things sometimes for people in reading our ballot is that in Virginia you do not vote for the candidate. You vote for a slate of electors who has pledged to go to the electoral college for that ballot. So when you read down our ballot, you’ll see Democratic Party electors for Hillary Clinton, and Tim Kaine, Donald J. Trump, Michael R. Pence. You will also see three more. There are five choices for President in Virginia this year. The next is Libertarian Party, electors for Gary Johnson, Green Party, Electors for Jill Stein, and there is an Independent, electors for Evan McMullen. So, if you don’t like the main two choices, you still have choices in Virginia.”

There are several other choices voters will face: For Member of the House of Representatives, 6th District, Democrat Kai E. Degner, Republican Robert w. “Bob” Godlatte, and two constitutional amendments.

Because of recent events in Bath County, where some voters are concerned their representatives have not reflected their beliefs, I asked what it takes to get a new leader. Charles Garratt,

“We hear so much national news of recalls all around the country. People have a certain impression of what the recall process is, and what the results will be. In Virginia we don’t have the same kind of recall process that we see in other states.

There is a process; it varies a little bit from jurisdiction to jurisdiction even within Virginia, but essentially it is handled, not in my office, but in the Circuit Court.” Charles provided his understanding of the way the process works, and concluded that consulting an attorney would be the most effective way to ensure results.

“You have to present a blank petition to the Circuit Court. The court has to approve and file that. Then you can circulate that petition for signatures, and basically what that petition is asking is, asking the court to review the actions of a candidate or an elected official to determine if they have broken the law, and if they have, then the court has the authority to vacate that set, and order a special election.”  Again however, this process is pursued through the Circuit Court, not the registrar’s office, and may take months to unfold.


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Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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