'Shepherdstown Observer' Takes FOIA Appeal to State Supreme Court

By: A Jefferson County monthly newspaper wants the state Supreme Court to decide if signatures on an election petition should be released under West Virginia's Freedom of Information Act.

The Shepherdstown Observer is appealing Jefferson County Circuit Judge David Saunder's Aug. 21 ruling that declared the petition was not a public document.

Saunders ruled the petition was not public because it had not been created by a government agency. He also noted federal cases have denied access to petition signatures because of privacy concerns.

The Observer went to court after Jefferson County Clerk Jennifer Maghan denied its FOIA request.

The petition involved placing the county's new zoning ordinance on the ballot. A vote is set for Nov. 7.


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