PARKERSBURG - Voters with address changes or who haven't voted in the last four years will be getting a pink postcard in the mail soon.
"It was supposed to have been done by Dec. 31, but we have not gotten the data from the secretary of state's office yet. The postcards will go out once we receive the information," Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes said Thursday.
More than 10,000 Wood County voters will be receiving the postcards. Two years ago, the last time the cards were mailed out, 2,779 residents received the pink postcards.
Photo by Pamela Brust
Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes said his office is waiting on data from the secretary of state’s office to begin sending the National Change of Address notices to voters who have either changed their address or have not voted in the last two federal election cycles.
"This time the voters who haven't voted in the four years, two federal election cycles, are also being notified so the number is much larger this time," Rhodes said.
According to West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, there are about 1.2 million registered voters in West Virginia, and county clerks statewide will be mailing more than 335,000 notifications to voters who may have changed their address or who have been idle for two federal election cycles.
The clerks were offered the option of either having the company contracted by the state mail out the cards or doing it in-house.
* If the address on the mailing label is correct, sign and return the attached postage paid card.
* If you have moved to another address within Wood County, enter your correct address, sign and return.
* If you do not update your voter registration at least 21 days before the next election, you may cast a provisional ballot at your new precinct and update your registration at that time.
* If you have moved outside the county, sign and return the card to cancel your Wood County registration.
"Because of the cost involved we opted to just get the labels. So they will be sending us the names and addresses on the labels and we will put them on the postcards and mail them out ourselves," Rhodes said. The cost to have it done by the firm contracted by the state would have been more than $10,000, while the cost to handle it in-house will be about $4,700.
This notification process is done every two years. The last time it was done 2,779 local voters got the postcard.
The Department of Motor Vehicles data is provided on the address changes.
If you receive one of the cards and your address on the mail label is correct, just sign and return the attached post-paid card.
If you have moved to another address within Wood County, enter your correct address, sign and return the card, your registration will be updated and the clerk's office will send out new voter precinct information to you.
If you do not update your registration at least 21 days prior to the next election, you cast a provisional ballot at your new precinct and update your registration at that time.
If you have moved outside Wood County, you need to sign and return the card to cancel your registration here.
The next election is May 13. The deadline to register to vote in that election is April 22.
Tennant said the voter notification process is state-mandated.
"We, along with the county clerks, are undertaking this state-mandated process to ensure that our voter rolls are accurate. Most of the people receiving notifications will just have to fill out the notification and send it back," Tennant said.
If a voter receives the National Change of Address notification card and does not fill it out and return it to their county clerk they will be placed on the list of "inactive" voters. These people are still registered to vote and may vote in 2014. Voters who remain inactive for two federal election cycles will have their registration canceled as required by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
Tennant said her office has been actively working with the clerks to maintain accurate voter rolls. Passed during the 2013 Legislative Session, Senate Bill 535 provides access to more information for updating records and ultimately means more accurate voter registration rolls. It provides more tools for counties to use to remove from the rolls the people who have moved out of the jurisdiction or who have passed away, according to Tennant.
"Maintaining accurate voter registration records requires the participation of the voters," Tennant said. "We ask that, if you receive a NCOA card in the mail, you confirm the address information on the card or correct the address information on the card. The card already has a stamp on it so all the voter will need to do is sign it and drop it in a mail box to send it back to their county clerk's office."