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I’ve been through enough election recounts and canvasses to know that results can be changed.

One fallacy associated with challenges — particularly those being waged by President Donald Trump — is that fraud or intentional wrongdoing must be discovered to be successful. That isn’t true.

Human error, which is more common than intentional fraud, causes most miscounts. And humans — including even me — make mistakes.

One thing I’ve known since the disputed Kanawha County election of 1980 is that, from a manpower standpoint, it’s easier to steal an election now than it was before computerization.

In the 1950s, one had to organize a conspiracy of several people to alter election results. Today, it might require just one crooked computer whiz. (We’ll detail 1950s methods in a future column).

Election officials will tell us all about the various “checks and balances” in place to combat fraud today. I’m the eternal optimist. I figure 99.9% of election officials are honest.

Still, if one gets involved in the process, has no moral values and is passionate about his or her favorite candidate, a counting program can be created to count one vote as one for Candidate A and one vote as three for Candidate B.

Do I think that has happened during the past 50 years? Absolutely. Can I prove it? No need to try.

Still, it’s not fair for supporters of Joe Biden to ridicule the president regarding demands for a fair and accurate count. Biden and his voters should want the same thing.

The president — and the people — have a right to an accurate count.


Presumptive West Virginia Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, feels suddenly empowered to do the Legislature’s constitutional duty and provide some checks and balances for Gov. Jim Justice, a fellow Republican.

Blair soon will be leading the same Senate that, for eight months, has refused to oversee the governor’s rule by executive order. Justice has decreed; the Senate has slept and the public has followed orders.

Justice won’t call the Legislature into special session to deal with the pandemic. Sufficient House members signed petitions to call themselves in, but the Senate hasn’t mustered enough signatures.

So Justice is king.

Now, he says he might call the Legislature to enact legislation providing penalties for those defying his mask-wearing orders. The governor apparently believes the Legislature is not needed to represent their constituents’ concerns. Their only purpose is to provide criminal penalties for those who aren’t submissive to his rule.

Now, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, also a Republican, has stepped into the fray. On social media, he made it clear that his office will not be jailing people who refuse to follow Justice’s pandemic orders.

Thus, Morrisey re-established his role as a rightwing Republican favorite. Blair gave him some competition with comments he made, as well.

“It is our intent to express the view that no one should be arrested or lose their business license over exercising their First Amendment and constitutionally protected rights,” Blair said.


In another of his eyebrow-raising social media posts, Cabell County Republican Delegate John Mandt advised that “I have my eye on his [U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s] seat.”

“John may have his eye on it, but he’ll never have his butt on it,” said one Statehouse politico.


Cheryl Kump, wife of Eastern Panhandle Republican Delegate Larry Kump, took to social media to defend her husband last week. She said folks were blaming him for Justice dictating policy during the pandemic.

Mrs. Kump pointed out that her husband signed for a special session. She placed blame instead on Panhandle GOP Sens. Blair and Charles Trump, who have not asked for such a gathering.

Ron Gregory is a former Glenville mayor, Kanawha County manager and Charleston assistant mayor who has commented on state politics for 50 years. Reach him at 304-533-5185 or