- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a West Virginia county clerk to process online voter registrations without the written signatures the clerk said was necessary to complete the process.

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia filed the proposed class-action lawsuit Thursday against Cabell County Clerk Karen Cole in U.S. District Court in Huntington. The order applies to all online registrations filed up to the Oct. 18 deadline.

“We are pleased that, through the actions of the court’s decision, 2,000 Cabell County residents will be able to vote on November 8,” said Anthony Majestro, an attorney who joined in the suit.

The system can be used by residents who already have a West Virginia driver’s license or state identification card with a signature on file with the Division of Motor Vehicles or other approved state databases.

The ACLU’s lawsuit said that when the Cabell clerk’s office received an online registration, it sent back a paper application and a letter that said the secretary of state’s website doesn’t provide the information required by law for the clerk’s office to process a voter application.

In her court response, Cole said her office was processing online applications for new or changed voter registrations, considering them filed on the day they were received online, but said that verification in writing is required so a paper form is mailed out.

“In this case, there is no constraint on voting rights,” her attorney Wendy Greve wrote. “Foremost, there is no constitutional right to register to vote online.”

A longer ruling is expected from Judge Robert Chambers in the next several days.

Calls to Cole and her attorney were not immediately returned Tuesday.

The state’s online voter registration system has been used by more than 56,000 voters since it was launched last fall and 54 counties are now processing them, the lawsuit said.

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