CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Barring death, disqualification or withdrawal, West Virginia’s ballot for the November general election is set.
Friday marked the deadline for independent candidates to submit signatures to get on the ballot.
One hopeful for U.S. House and five in state legislative races qualified with signatures. Affiliations include Independent and American Freedom Party.
The highest profile candidate to collect enough signatures is Independent Ed Rabel, a former CBS and NBC News correspondent. He faces Democrat Nick Casey and Republican Alex Mooney in the open 2nd Congressional District race.
The number of signatures required is 1 percent of all votes cast in that same race last election.
Along with Democrats and Republicans, Mountain and Libertarian party candidates don’t need to collect signatures for ballot privileges.
The Mountain Party fielded one candidate for U.S. Senate and six for statehouse slots. Libertarians feature one for U.S. Senate, one for U.S. House and three for statehouse races.
Parties maintain ballot status by receiving at least 1 percent of the vote in the previous gubernatorial election. They can either hold primary elections or conventions to pick candidates.
In recent years, voter statewide have started gravitating away from the two major political parties.
Democrats still make up about half of all West Virginia voters, while Republicans are close to 29 percent. But Democrats lost almost 9 percentage points of their share since 2004, while the GOP dropped about 1 percentage point.
In the same timeframe, voters registered outside of the two parties jumped from 12 percent of the electorate to 21 percent.
The general election is Nov. 4.