Charleston, W. Va. – Voter list maintenance has been a priority for the WV Secretary of State’s Office since Secretary Mac Warner first took office in 2017. Warner is asking voters who may need to update their current voter registration or who haven’t voted recently to check their status.
Working closely with all 55 county clerks, Warner says that his office provides the tools necessary to operate a uniform, non-partisan voter registration list maintenance process. Since 2017, Warner reports that over 400,000 deceased, duplicate, out-of-state, outdated, convicted felons, or otherwise ineligible registration files have been removed from the Statewide Voter Registration System. At the same time, more than 333,000 new voters have been registered to vote, which includes more than 100,000 high school students.
Over 109,000 instances of possible abandoned voter registrations in West Virginia have been identified recently by an updated address comparison with the United States Postal Service (USPS), the WV Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or by official election mail that was returned as undeliverable. Of those, 88,000 addresses will soon, or already have, received an important confirmation postcard from their county clerk’s office.
“West Virginia State Code and federal laws require election officials to send a postcard to each address of a voter who is identified as possibly abandoning their registration.,” Warner said.
“These voters were identified when they provided a newer address to the USPS, DMV, or when official election mail was returned which indicated a voter may have moved. If the voter moved to another West Virginia county, we can help them update their registration. If they moved out of state, they are no longer eligible to vote and we encourage them to cancel their voter registration,” Warner said.
County clerks have been sending postcard notifications to citizens identified as potentially abandoning their voter registration over the last several weeks. The postcard asks the voter to confirm that they are still a resident of the state and county at the address on their voter registration record.
Secretary Warner encourages every voter who receives the confirmation postcard to confirm that they still reside at the address on file or to update the address to keep their registration in “active” status. Voters can check and update their registration information online at ovr.sos.wv.gov, or by returning the pre-paid postage postcard to their county clerk.
Regular maintenance on voter registration lists is mandated by the National Voter Registration Act and West Virginia law. Voters who confirm their address by returning a postcard will remain “active.”
Voters whose postcards are not returned, or are returned by the USPS as “undeliverable,” will be categorized as “inactive.” Voters who are “inactive” still remain eligible to vote in the next two federal election cycles. However, if a voter’s registration address remains unconfirmed for the next two 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.
“The law is in place to make sure voters on West Virginia’s voter registration rolls are still residents of West Virginia at the address on file with their county clerk,” Warner said. “Many times, we find that these voters moved and simply forgot to cancel or update their registration,” Warner said.
For more information, please contact your county clerk or the WV Secretary of State’s Office at (304) 558-6000.