by KATE SHUNNEY
A Hedgesville man is seeking a action from a Kanawha County judge to stop votes for Ken Reed from being counted during the June 9 primary election.
Howard Stone, through Cross Lanes attorney Patrick Lane, filed a lawsuit in Kanawha County Circuit Court in late March against Mac Warner, Secretary of State of West Virginia and Ken Reed.
Reed, a Morgan County Commissioner and owner of multiple pharmacy businesses in the tri-state region, is a Republican candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates representing the 59th district. That district includes parts of eastern Morgan County and western Berkeley County. Reed is challenging Delegate Larry Kump in the GOP primary for the seat.
The lawsuit against the Secretary of State and Reed argues that Reed is not eligible to run in the primary for that delegate’s seat because he doesn’t meet the residency requirement. State code requires a candidate to live for at least one year in the district before being elected to office.
Stone has said Reed doesn’t live at the residence he claims in the 11000 block of Martinsburg Road in the Hedgesville area of Morgan County.
Reed’s residency has been challenged by Morgan County resident John Webster, who filed paperwork with the Morgan County Clerk questioning the validity of Reed’s voter registration tied to the Martinsburg Road address. He and others have said they see no physical evidence that Reed really lives at that address.
Stone two years ago filed suit against Tally Reed, Ken Reed’s wife, when she ran for the House of Delegates in the 59th district. He made the same argument to the court at that time – that the Reed’s simply don’t live at the address listed on their candidate forms and voter registration. In that case, a Kanawha Circuit judge did not block the counting of Reed’s votes, saying the case had come too far into the election cycle when ballots had already been printed.
Stone’s current lawsuit claims that Reed’s primary residence is in the 4000 block of Martinsburg Road, at a home that is assessed and taxed as an owner-occupied home. It further claims that the house Reed owns in the 11000 block of Martinsburg Road is classified as a Class III property – a property used for commercial purposes.
Reed has said he lives at the residence on the 11000 block of Martinsburg Road, and the Morgan County Clerk affirmed his voter registration at that address.
Stone’s lawsuit asks a Kanawha Circuit Judge to remove Reed’s name from the primary election ballot and to not tabulate any votes cast on ballots that may already contain his name.
A hearing was set to be held on the matter in Kanawha County Circuit Court yesterday, April 21.
According to the Morgan County Clerk’s office, absentee ballots can begin being mailed out to eligible voters this Friday, April 24.