The Exponent Telegram:
We are fast approaching an important day on the political calendar: The May 10 West Virginia primary. There are a lot of races on the ballot, and there are significant choices to be made.
Are you registered to vote?
According to Briana Wilson, communications director for the Secretary of State’s Office, more than 14,000 new voters have registered in the Mountain State since the beginning of the year. So far, she said there are about 3,000 more voters on the rolls this year than in the 2012 presidential primary.
There is always more interest in an election when a president is being chosen, but there are also a lot of races to consider on the state and local levels.
From the governor to the state Supreme Court to the Legislature, we have decisions to make. And then there are the county races for sheriff, judge, commissioner and so on.
Each and every office can — and does — have an impact on our lives.
Is your road bad? Do you have friends or family who have lost jobs in the coal or gas industries? Do you worry about your child’s schooling if there are more cuts in education? Are you worried about the growing drug problem?
Our right to vote has and always will be one of our most important civic duties. One cannot understate the power of the electorate.
If you want to make your voice heard on May 10, you have to be registered to vote. And if you are not registered, you have only one more day to do so.
All you have to do is go to your county courthouse and fill out the paperwork at the county clerk’s office.
All you need, according to Sonja Griffith, deputy clerk for voter registration in Harrison County, is a West Virginia driver’s license with the correct name and address. That’s it. It’s easier to register to vote than it is to get a driver’s license these days.
If you are registered and you have moved to a new neighborhood, all you have to do is bring in a utility bill, a pay stub or bank statement that has your new address.
You have until the end of the business day tomorrow, April 19, to register for the May primary.
Or you can register through the Secretary of State’s office online at https://ovr.sos.wv.gov/Register
Once registered, you can vote prior to May 10 at your convenience. Early voting starts statewide on April 27, according to Harrison County Clerk Susan Thomas. Every county is required to offer early voting at its courthouse from April 27 to May 7.
Thomas said Harrison County will provide early voting at the old Mountain State Dermatology location in Eastpointe and at Meadowbrook Mall. Thomas said this will be the first year the county will offer five days of early voting at the old Quiet Dell School from April 27 to May 2, and then at the Shinnston Women’s Club from May 3 to May 7.
Our state and county officials have been working hard to make sure that the process is easy and convenient for voters. All you need to do is show up at the county clerk’s office to answer a few questions or you can turn on your computer and register online.
If you are only a one-issue voter or if you are concerned about a number of problems facing our state and our world today, this is your opportunity to make your vote count.
But you can’t vote if you don’t register.