Charleston, W. Va. – 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 to provide the tools necessary to operate a uniform, non-partisan voter registration list maintenance process, Warner reports that over 400,000 deceased, duplicate, out-of-state, convicted-felon voter, or otherwise ineligible registration files have been removed from the Statewide Voter Registration System since the 2016 election, as indicated by the most recent Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS). 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 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. These addresses will soon receive an important confirmation postcard from their county clerk’s office.
“West Virginia and federal laws require election officials to send a postcard to each address of a voter who is identified as possibly abandoning their registration. 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,” said Secretary Warner. “If the voter moved to another West Virginia county, we can help them update their registration,” Warner continued. “If they moved out of state, they are no longer eligible to vote and we encourage them to cancel their voter registration.”
These postcards are expected to arrive in voters’ mailboxes in the coming 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 reside at the address on file or update the address 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 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. Many times, we find that these voters moved and simply forgot to cancel their registration,” Warner said.
For more information, please contact your county clerk or the WV Secretary of State’s Office at (304) 558-6000.