Charleston, W.Va. – Registered voters who have changed addresses with the DMV, post office or have not voted or updated their voter registration at any time in the past 4 years will soon receive a postcard in the mail to confirm that the voter is still a resident at their registered address on file with the County Clerk.
Warner encourages every voter who receives the confirmation postcard to confirm or update their registration by scanning the QR code on the postcard with a mobile device and follow the easy steps to keep their registration in “active” status. Voters can also check and update their registration information online at ovr.sos.wv.gov, or by simply mailing the completed pre-paid postage postcard to their county clerk.
Voters whose postcards are returned will remain “active.” Voters whose postcards are not returned, or are returned by the USPS as “undeliverable,” will be categorized as “inactive,” which still permits the voters to remain eligible to vote in the next 2 federal election cycles. However, if a voter’s registration address remains unconfirmed for the next 2 federal general elections after receipt of the confirmation notice, and the voter fails to vote in any state or local election during that time period, state law mandates that the registration be canceled.
Warner said that election officials will mail postcards this week to each of the 169,417 voters identified after the November 2020 General Election. The postcard (example attached) asks the voter to confirm they are still a resident of the state and county at the address at which they are registered.
"The law requires election officials to send a postcard to each voter identified by the USPS as having signed up for mail forwarding service through the National Change of Address program, and data obtained from other states’ Departments of Motor Vehicles showing voters may have moved to another state. The law is in place to make sure voters on West Virginia rolls are still residents of West Virginia at the address on file with the County Clerk," Warner said. "Since we have information from the voter that they may have moved or have had no contact with election officials by updating their registration or voting, many times we find that these voters moved and simply forgot to cancel their registration or are deceased."
A registered voter does not have to vote in any election to stay registered. However, after not participating for a period of 4 years or greater, or by not updating their voter registration after moving, election officials are required to attempt to confirm the voter's residential status to ensure that the voter is still a resident of West Virginia in the address on file, confirming their eligibility to vote.
Regular maintenance on voter registration lists is mandated by the National Voter Registration Act and West Virginia law. The confirmation notice mailed to voters’ addresses on file with their registration is the first step in the process, which was reviewed and approved in recent years by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Voter list maintenance has been a priority for the WV Secretary of State's Office since Warner first took office in 2017. By working closely with all 55 county clerks from January 2017 to July 1, 2021, Warner reports that a total of 364,301 abandoned, deceased, duplicate, out of state and convicted felon voter registration files have been canceled in the Statewide Voter Registration System. During the same period of time, a total of 255,888 new voters have been registered to vote, which included more than 67,000 high school students.
"If the voter moved to another county, we can help them update their voter registration here in West Virginia," Warner said. "If they moved out of state, they are no longer eligible to vote."
Warner said that a voter's registration will not be canceled if they do not respond to the postcard. However, if the voter's registration remains inactive for two additional consecutive federal general elections following receipt of the postcard, then and only then will the voter's registration be canceled according to the National Voter Registration Act.
For more information, please contact your county clerk or the WV Secretary of State's Office at (304) 558-8000.
A sample version of the confirmation notice postcard.