MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As a U.S. Senate race looms in West Virginia, the Secretary of State’s Office is reminding voters that a new voter ID law takes effect in West Virginia next year.
“The law requires voters, when they show up to vote on Election Day or during early voting, to show a form of ID,” Elections Director Donald Kersey said. “It’s not a photo ID law. It’s just a voter ID law. The legislature prescribed lots of different forms of ID that are acceptable on Election Day, and they include both non-photo and photo idea.”
The ID law will permit voters to vote if they can show a voter registration card, utility bill from the last six months, bank statement from the last six months, Medicaid or Medicare card, SNAP or TANF card, hunting or fishing license, birth certificate, Social Security card, driver’s license, passport, DMV ID card, employee ID for U.S. or WV government employee, student ID, or a concealed carry permit.
“Most people in the state have the majority of these forms of ID,” Kersey said. “But every person in the state has one of these forms, and that’s a voter registration card.”
There are other exceptions, but Kersey believes they will be for extreme circumstances. In most cases, he said the onus will be on poll workers rather than voters.
“The big heavy lift here won’t be on the voters because most people have a driver’s license in their wallet already,” Kersey said. “In fact, the research we’ve done shows about 95 percent of registered voters have a driver’s license.”
There are also additional exceptions, including if a poll worker has known a voter for the past six months, if a friend is willing to sign an affidavit at the polls, or if a resident of a state care facility is voting in the same place where they live.
“The biggest lift, I think, will be on the county clerk’s in training their poll workers to know all the different forms of acceptable ID and know all the different exceptions so that our wait time on Election Day and during early voting isn’t any more than it has been in the past.”
The program is also designed to allow voters to get any necessary form of Voter ID directly at their local County Clerk’s office.
“As long as your registration is updated, you go to your County Clerk’s Office, you fill out an application, the application is processed, it comes to us, and we print a photo ID with your information on it,” he said. “We will mail it to your residence address, your mailing address, or we’ll send it back to the County Clerk and you can pick it up later.”
The WV ACLU, Disability Rights of WV, Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, Inspire WV, League of Women Voters, the Libertarian Party, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Mountain Party, the NAACP, the WV Association of Counties, the Bureau of Senior Services, the WV Citizen Action Group, the County Clerks Association, the Department of Veterans Assistance, the WV Muncipal League, and the WV Press Association are all taking part in a campaign to keep voters informed of these changes in the run-up to the 2018 primary elections in May.
You can learn more information here.