For 1st time, state law will require voter ID checks in West Virginia May primary

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Poll workers across West Virginia are being schooled on West Virginia’s new voter ID law as part of their training ahead of the May 8 primary election while educational materials are also being rolled to potential voters.

“Our clerks have really taken the ball and rolled with it,” said Donald “Deak” Kersey, elections director and deputy counsel for the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.

“They understand the rules. They’re getting their people trained.”

The latest poll worker training videos from the Secretary of State’s Office include one focused on what are and what are not acceptable forms of ID for voters under a new state law that took effect on Jan. 1.

Acceptable forms of photo identification include the following:

– West Virginia driver’s license or other West Virginia ID card issued by the DMV
– Driver’s license issued by another state
– U.S. passport or passport card
– Military ID card issued by the U.S.
– U.S. or West Virginia government employee ID card
– Student ID card
– A concealed carry permit

Acceptable forms of non-photo identification include the following:

– Voter registration card
– Medicare card or Social Security card
– Birth certificate
– West Virginia hunting or fishing license
– West Virginia SNAP ID card
– West Virginia TANF program ID card
– West Virginia Medicaid ID card
– Bank or debit card
– Utility bill or bank statement issued within six months of the date of the election
– Health insurance card issued to the voter

ID is required on Election Day and during the early voting period and all identification must be valid and not expired.

There are three exceptions to the voter ID requirement.

1) A provided signed, sworn statement by an adult who has known the voter for six months or more which has to be signed at the polling place confirming the voter’s identity.

2) A poll worker has known the voter for at least six months.

3) Residents of licensed West Virginia state care facilities do not have to show ID to vote if the voter is a resident of a facility being used as a polling place and that is the person’s poll location.

In addition to the training of poll workers, informational cards detailing the requirements of the new voter ID law are also being distributed through groups that include the four recognized political parties, NAACP and ACLU along with veteran, senior and other organizations.

“We’ve given these education cards to those agencies and they’re mailing them out with their regular correspondence with their constituents. They’re putting them on social media. We have Braille cards that were produced by Disability Rights of West Virginia,” Kersey said.

“We have a lot of people helping us get the word out here.”

Kersey is optimistic there will be few problems due to the new voter ID law on Election Day.

“We’ve had several smaller elections leading up this Primary Election throughout the state, some municipals, a county levy election during which the voter ID law was already in effect and we didn’t hear any horror stories,” he told MetroNews.

“We’re very hopeful that those earlier elections are a good indication that our state knows about it (the new law) or at least that the voters who show up that don’t know about it will have one of these many forms (of ID) already on them.”

Tuesday is the last day to register to vote in West Virginia’s May 8 Primary Election.

Voter registration, registration updates or registration verifications are available at your local county clerk’s office or online HERE.

Early voting ahead of Election Day begins on Wednesday, Apr. 25.

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