CHARLESTON, W.Va. - On January 1st of this year, West Virginia’s first-ever Voter Identification Law went into effect. For each federal, state, county and municipal election, voters must now show one valid form of identification to vote in person during any early voting period or on election day. The list of acceptable forms of identification include both non-photo and photo ID. A complete list of approved identification can be found at the following link: Voter ID Education Card
Included in those forms of acceptable identification are your driver’s license, utility bill, any government issued ID, and even your voter registration card. Of course, every registered voter is mailed a voter registration card after they register to vote, so every voter has a voter ID.
The new law also provides exceptions to the voter identification requirement: (1) if the voter is accompanied to the polling location by an adult who has known the voter for at least six months; (2) if a poll worker at the polling location knows the voter; or (3) if the voter is a resident of a state care facility and that facility is also the voter’s polling place.
No voter is ever turned away. If a voter appears to vote without any form of identification, the voter will be provided a provisional ballot. As long as the signatures match on the provisional ballot form and voter’s registration record, the board of canvassers should count the ballot.
In 2017 and prior to the new law taking effect, Secretary of State Mac Warner initiated a statewide public education campaign regarding the new ID requirements. The “Be Registered – Be Ready!” campaign focused entirely on the new law and how voters could comply with it.
More than 20 statewide organizations, social service agencies and political parties participated with the Secretary in educating the public about the new law. The Primary Election in May of this year was the first statewide election during which the new voter ID law was in effect. There were 320,937 citizens to vote in that election, and the Secretary has heard nothing but positive remarks regarding the new law.
On Friday, September 21st, absentee voting begins. All absentee voters, including UOCAVA and military voters, are not subject to the voter identification law; the law only applies to voters appearing in person during early voting and on election day.
If you have any questions or concerns about West Virginia’s new Voter Identification Law, you can call your county clerk or the Secretary of State’s Election Division at (304) 558-6000.
If you want to vote, you have to first be registered to vote. You can register in person at your county clerk’s office or you can register online by going to www.GoVoteWV.com
September is National Voter Registration Month. The Secretary of State’s Office has been working with our county clerks all month to encourage eligible citizens to register to vote. We identified more than 46,000 citizens who appeared to be eligible but not registered – and we sent them a post card encouraging them to explore their right to vote.
“Be Registered – Be Ready!”. October 16th is the last day to register to vote to participate in the November General Election.
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