FRANKLYWNOW - Ireland Ready for Reforms

Ireland Ready for Reforms

Betty Ireland knows all about success. She won her first-ever political campaign to become West Virginia's first female Secretary of State. She sat down with The State Journal's Juliet A. Terry to discuss her plans for the office, plans that include battling election fraud and making certain businesses can access everything they need from a computer. Ireland: We are going to roll out in about a month, a fraud unit. I don't want to tip my hand on what we're doing here … but it will be comprised of investigators, election-fraud investigators which we are currently allowed to have under the code, and they have broad powers. It will be comprised also of volunteer observers who go into the counties on election night just to observe. And it also will be comprised of one person who does nothing but look at campaign finance reports, that myriad reports that is due at times throughout the campaign. So, I don't want to spill the beans now, but we have a really exciting group ready to be rolled out. We are all for, of course, what the governor is doing with ethics reform and we want to dovetail right along with him in what he's doing with election reforms and election fraud. Terry: Will all the stepped up oversight cost the state more money? Ireland: No, no. Absolutely not. In fact, we've been able to save a little money so far because the staff that I brought in, the senior staff, came in at a little lower salary than than what was here before. But, we will use that money to beef up the election fraud unit. We're not going to add more money to the payroll, we're just going to be reallocating resources so we have the right folks in the right positions without increasing the budget. Terry: Ireland isn't just focusing on elections. She also has the state's thousands of businesses in mind. Ireland: On the business side, what we're trying to do is make this office hum with technology so that businesses can do everything online, they don't have to come to Charleston, they don't have to sign a piece of paper and send it in. We really want to make high use of technology in the Secretary of State's Office. I don't think the public fully knows how often, how many times a day and how many important ways the Secretary of State's Office touches their lives. But whatever it is, we want that experience to be a pleasant one and a satisfactory one both from our perspective and from their perspective. Terry: As she settles into her role as Secretary of State, Ireland said she has found her ideal job. Ireland: I love it. I am convinced in my heart that I am the right person for this job. It feels so good. It is not beyond anything that I've ever done before, and I truly believe that I have brought to the table, from all my years of experience in business and in state government and in teaching, it's exactly the right package to move this office and this state forward. For the full interview with Ireland, visit The State Journal's Web site on Thursday. Related Story: Ireland Touts Electronic Signatures

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