Today is final day to register to vote

CHARLESTON — With all eyes on West Virginia for the upcoming midterm elections, elections officials and the two major political parties are encouraging anyone who hasn’t registered to vote to do so by 5 p.m. today.

Registered voters are also being encouraged to contact their county clerks or go online to check their voter registration information to make sure it’s accurate.

Today, Oct. 16 is the last day to register to voter or update registrations. Anyone needing to register can do so by going to their local county clerk’s office during business hours, going to the Division of Motor Vehicles, mailing in a voter registration form postmarked by today, or by going to GoVoteWV.com and registering online.

“So far we’ve seen a lot of folks register online through our online voter registration portal,” said Donald “Deak” Kersey, director of the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Election Division. “Our county clerks have seen an uptick in mail-in voter registration. Basically, I think we’ve had a very good push throughout the state for voter registration. We’ve seen an increase in the last couple of months.”

According to the secretary of state’s website, voter registration totals at the end of September stand at 1,237,269, with 5,002 new registrations coming in September alone. Of that number, 42.13 percent were registered as Democrats, 32.25 percent as Republicans, and approximately 25 percent were registered as either “no party” or “other.” Coming in last in registrations were the Libertarian Party with .51 percent and the Mountain Party with .17 percent.

Voter turnout for the May 8 primary election was 26.13 percent and was one of the best midterm election turnouts since 2010, when turnout was 23.88 percent. Officials with the state Republican and Democratic parties hope turnout remains high in November.

Melody Potter, chairwoman of the West Virginia Republican Executive Committee, said the party has worked hard to promote the voter registration deadlines through phone calls, door knocking, and social media.

“We’ve been really excited about it,” Potter said. “This is our right as Americans to have our voices heard. We’re just so fortunate to be United States citizens and have this opportunity.”

Belinda Biafore, chairwoman of the state Democratic Executive Committee, was reached out to, but did not respond by press time.

Early voting starts Wednesday, Oct. 24, and ends Saturday, Nov. 3, except for Sundays. Voters can go to their county courthouses or other designated locations during office hours to vote, as well as 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Check with your local county clerk for times and locations.

Voters who are already registered can go to GoVoteWV.com to check on the status of their voter registration and make changes to party registration, address, email address, phone number, and other miscellaneous information.

“We’ve been pushing our new website, which details all the information you need,” Kersey said.

While at GoVoteWV.com, voters can look up their polling place, what political districts they’re in, look up sample ballots, absentee voting eligibility, early voting locations, track absentee and provisional ballots, and learn about the types of voter identification that are acceptable at polling locations and exceptions to the Voter ID law.

Overseas and military voters in 24 counties will have the opportunity to use the new mobile voting solution in the general election. First tested out by two counties during the May 8 primary, the mobile option allows West Virginians who qualify under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act to use a mobile phone app to vote and send the ballot into a blockchain lockbox only a county clerk can access on election day.

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