By December 27, 2017 Read More →

Officials prepare for implementation of West Virginia voter ID law

The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —  Secretary of State Mac Warner announced the launch of a new program this month to educate the public on the state’s new voter identification law, which goes into effect Jan. 1.

The “Be Registered & Be Ready to Vote” campaign will help educate voters on the kinds of photo and non-photo identification required at the polls starting in 2018. The public campaign will also address exceptions and frequently asked questions.

“With some municipalities holding city elections at the beginning of the year, we want the public to be aware they will need to show some kind of identification to poll workers,” Warner said in a release. “We want the process to be easy for our voters and to make clear that no voter will be turned away from a polling place because of lack of ID.”

Beginning Jan. 1, voters must show a form of identification to vote in person during the early voting period or on Election Day in any election. Any ID shown for voting purposes must be valid and not expired.

The Secretary of State’s Election Division is working with county clerks to provide free photo IDs to registered voters who otherwise do not have one of the many forms of identifying documents.

The West Virginia Legislature passed the Voter ID law in 2016 and former Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed it into law. The goal of the legislation is to prevent voter fraud, though opponents to these types of laws argue the additional requirements discourage voters who lack IDs, typically the elderly, the poor and minorities.

The legislation originally required a photo ID, but the passed legislation is less strict. Forms of IDs that will be accepted include hunting licenses, debit cards and driver’s licenses.

There are also three exemptions to needing an ID: a sworn, written statement by an adult who has known the voter for at least six months; a poll worker knows the voter; and residents of state care facilities.

The Secretary of State’s Office is also working with a diverse group of stakeholders to help develop the education campaign and to get the word out to the public about these changes, including distributing 40,000 rack cards across the state. Stakeholders include the ACLU of West Virginia, the NAACP, League of Women Voters of West Virginia, and Disability Rights of West Virginia.

Acceptable forms of non-photo identification:

— voter registration card

— Medicare or Social Security card

— birth certificate

— W.Va. hunting or fishing license

— W.Va. SNAP ID card

— W.Va. TANF program ID card

— W.Va. Medicaid card

— bank or debit card

— utility bill or bank statement within six months of election

Acceptable forms of photo identification:

— W.Va. driver’s license or other W.Va. ID card

— driver’s license issued by another state

— U.S. passport or passport card

— Military ID card issued by U.S.

— U.S. or W.Va. government employee ID card

— student ID card

— concealed carry permit

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