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Warner cautions about false voter information

CHARLESTON — The secretary of state has cautioned residents over recent mailings from third-party organizations about their voter registrations and about false social media posts and websites claiming independent voters can’t vote in the general election.

The latter is untrue, according to West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, who advised voters to be careful providing information to any person or organization not associated with the secretary of state’s office or with a county clerk.

The mailings started last week with literature and blank voter registration forms received by residents as part of an independent organization’s attempt to encourage citizens to register to vote before the registration deadline on Tuesday to vote in the general election, Warner said.

Some recipients who are already registered to vote incorrectly received a registration form, he said.

However, the literature might include a warning to registered voters they will not be eligible to vote if they do not submit the enclosed voter registration application, which is not accurate, Warner said. Residents already registered to vote and have not moved do not need to submit a new voter registration application, he said.

“I applaud and encourage all efforts to register eligible citizens to vote,” Warner said. “But I am concerned that some mailings may suggest to voters already registered that they need to register again. That is not the case and may lead to confusion. Being less than a month from the general election, any misinformation that leads to confusion must be identified and corrected.”

Registered voters can make sure that their registration is current by checking online or calling their county clerk’s office, Warner said. To check a voter registration, update a registration, find a polling place or register to vote, go to www.GoVoteWV.com. Citizens can also contact their county clerk’s office or the Secretary of State Elections Division at 304 558-6000, Warner said.

Warner has asked media outlets to help diffuse the rumor that independent and unaffiliated voters are not permitted to vote in the November general election. Concerned citizens have reported to his office about websites and social media posts claiming such, he said.

“Regardless of an individual’s affiliation, if they’re registered to vote then they are permitted to vote in the November general election,” Warner said.

The active party affiliations in West Virginia include the Republican, Democrat, Libertarian and Mountain parties, Warner said. Voters who do not want to belong to any party are permitted to register as unaffiliated, who are referred to as independent voters, he said.

Upon seeing a website or social media indicating unaffiliated voters are not being permitted to vote in the general election, Warner asks residents to immediately contact the Secretary of State Investigations Hotline at 1-877-FRAUD-WV.

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