An audit shows West Virginia’s accounting of federal money it received for replacing voting machines and other election improvements contained several errors.
The audit by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Office of the Inspector General examined the state’s use of the funding from April 2003 to August 2009, a period spanning the terms of Secretary of State Natalie Tennant and two predecessors, Betty Ireland and Joe Manchin.
According to the audit, the Secretary of State’s Office didn’t put matching money received into a single account with the federal money until 2007. As a result, the election account lost more than $95,000 in interest earnings.
Auditors also found discrepancies between the secretary of state’s balance sheets and the Treasurer’s Office’s balance sheets.
Ireland told The Charleston Daily Mail that the balance sheet discrepancies were the only problem she wasn’t aware of when she left office. The other problems identified by auditors were corrected.
In a response to the audit, Tennant attributed the balance sheet discrepancies to data entry errors and differences in accounting procedures. She said her office has made changes to correct the problem.
Auditors suggested that the state put the lost interest income back into the election account. Tennant proposed that state receive credit from the federal government for $2.6 million that some counties spent to upgrade their election systems.
Auditors also faulted the state for not depositing into the election account money that counties received from selling voter registration lists. Tennant’s office told the Daily Mail that it has asked the federal government to concede this finding.
“The counties use that money to defray the cost of elections,” Tennant spokesman Jake Glance said. “We didn’t want to take that money away from the counties.”