Governor – The Governor is the head of the executive branch of the government. The Governor has control over administrative offices and agencies that are responsible for putting many laws into action. This gives the Governor a lot of influence over policy. The Governor can set a policy agenda and recommend legislation for the Legislature to pass. The Governor can also veto bills if they disagree with them. However, in West Virginia, in only takes 50 percent of the Legislature to override a veto.
Secretary of State – The Secretary of State has many roles. They are responsible for registering businesses and nonprofit organizations. They are also the primary election official in West Virginia. They can set policies that affect how elections are managed. In addition, the Secretary of State has an important role in government transparency by maintaining records of meetings of the Governor and administrative rules and rulings.
Attorney General – The Attorney General is the state’s lawyer. They defend the state when sued. The Attorney General may also take legal action to defend the rights of West Virginians. The Attorney General often files briefs supporting or opposing major civil liberties cases being considered in federal courts.
Auditor – The Auditor is the accountant of the state government. They ensure money is being spent appropriately and help with budget analysis. These roles make the Auditor central for government transparency and accountability.
Treasurer – The state Treasurer is responsible for managing the accounts and the money of the State. In this role the Treasurer also serves on many boards that decide how state money is spent. The Treasurer is responsible for acquiring and disposing of unclaimed property, which can affect people's rights.
Agricultural Commissioner – The Agricultural Commissioner regulates the agricultural industry in West Virginia. Their primary functions are licensing and regulatory compliance. However, in this role they can effect civil liberties through their respect for due process.
Magistrate – Magistrates are judicial officers, although they are not required to be lawyers or have any formal legal training. Magistrates are heavily involved in the criminal legal system. They can grant warrants, set bail, and allow people to be held against their will for mental health.
Prosecutor – Prosecutors are overlooked for how much power they have in the criminal legal system. They make the decision to criminally charge a person and argue the state’s position against a criminal defendant. They can influence bail, plea bargains, the fairness of trials, and the sentencing.
Sherriff – Sheriffs are an elected law enforcement position. In this role they can influence policies including which communities are policed and how they are policed. They can choose which crimes to most aggressively police. They can set policies including use-of-force for their jurisdictions. They also provide security for courtrooms and play a role in tax collection.