Secretary of State Natalie Tennant told lawmakers Thursday her office could make do with less money in the fiscal year that starts July 1.
Tennant submitted a budget request of $1.2 million to the House Finance Committee. The request is about $4,000 less than was recommended for her office in Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's proposed state budget and about $90,000 less than the current year.
That decrease represents the 7.5 percent budget cut Tomblin requested of many public agencies.
"When you're the smallest constitutional office, smallest physically as far as office space and smallest in terms of employees, it wasn't a large number," Tennant said.
Tennant said her office has reduced its budget by 15 percent during her tenure.
The office also has spent more on "technology improvements," she said. Many of those changes mean less time spent on paperwork and less actual paper used.
Anyone who has recently tried to navigate the secretary of state's website for campaign information might question how those funds have been spent. Tennant admits more web upgrades are needed.
"Yes, we want it to be as easily accessible as possible. The reason I asked for technology authority to spend the technology funds is we have got to improve our campaign finance reporting system," Tennant said.
"It's all there, all the information is there. We just want to make it . . . easier to read, more user-friendly," she said.
She said the business application portal also needed attention. It's not a matter of more funds but rather going in and conducting the work itself, she said.
Tennant said she takes pride in being a good steward of public money, and her reputation of careful spending carries over to her staff.
Delegate Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, questioned her office's ability to be good stewards of voter registration lists. He pointed to reports leading up to the November election that there were more people registered to vote in some counties than the actual voting-age population.
Tennant admitted that is an ongoing problem, but she's tried to have legislation passed for the last three years that would give county clerks more control over their lists. Right now, she said, a federal rules states that a person is not removed from a registration list until after two voting cycles. That person must ask to be removed before then for his or her name to come off of the list, she said.