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 Voter FAQs

Voter Registration FAQs:

How do I find out if I am already registered to vote?
How do I register to vote?
Can I register to vote online?
Do I need identification when I register to vote?
What is the quickest way to receive my voter registration card?
How will I know when my applicaiton is processed?
How do I change or update my registration?
How old must I be to register to vote?
Do I need to be a United States Citizen before I register?
Is someone with a developmental disability allowed to register to vote?
Is someone with a mental health disorder allowed to register to vote?
Is someone convicted of a crime vote allowed to register to vote?
May I use a PO Box address as my residence address on my application?
Is there a deadline for registering to vote?
Will my information stay private?
May homeless people register to vote?
How do I cancel my voter registration?
How do I cancel the voter registration of a deceased family member?
How can I help other people register to vote?

Voting FAQs:

When is the next election?
When and where do I vote?
What happens at the polling place?
My poll workers said my ballot would be provisional. What does that mean?
Who is running for office?
Who are the current elected officials?
Are polling places accessible to voters with disabilities?
Can someone help me vote my ballot?
I cannot make it to the polls. Can I vote by mail?
How do I vote as a member of uniformed services on active duty, their spouse or dependent, or a citizen residing overseas?
I will be in the hospital on Election Day. How can I vote?
I am in the Address Confidentiality Program. How can I vote?
I have a permanent disability that prevents me from going to the polling place. How can I vote?
I applied for an absentee ballot. When will my County Clerk send my ballot?
What is the deadline for applying for an absentee ballot?
What is the deadline for sending my absentee ballot?
I sent my absentee ballot. How do I know if my County Clerk receives it?

Political Party FAQs:

Which political parties are recognized in West Virginia?
What does it mean to become a recognized political party?
What are primary elections and conventions?
Do I have to register with one of the recognized political parties?
What are minor, independent, and third parties?
How do people not affiliated with a recognized political party run for office?
How do I register in a political party?
Does my political party matter in the primary election?
Will all of the recognized political parties have a ballot in the primary election?
Does my political party matter in the general election?
How do I change my political party?
Are there any deadlines for changing my political party?

 

How do I find out if I am already registered to vote?

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You may search for your voter registration information by entering your name and date of birth here.

 
 

How do I register to vote?

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Online: Visit West Virginia's Online Voter Registration Website.

By mail: You may download and complete the West Virginia Voter Registration Application and mail it to your County Clerk or the Secretary of State's Office.

In person: You may register to vote in person at any of the following locations:

 

Can I register to vote online?

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Yes, visit West Virginia's Online Voter Registration Website.
 
 

Do I need identification when I register to vote?

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If you are registering to vote for the first time in West Virginia or your county, and you have not voted in a federal election in this state, you must show a valid ID with your application or the first time you vote. If you mail your application, you may send a copy of a valid ID. We accept the following documents that show your current name and address:
  • Valid photo identification
  • Utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Government check
  • Paycheck
  • Any other official government document
 

What is the quickest way to receive my voter registration card?

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The fastest way to register to vote is to bring your current driver's license or state issued identification card to your County Clerk's Office. They will give you an application, and you will receive your voter's registration card on the spot. If you register any other way, your voter registration card will come in the mail. ​
 
 

How will I know when my applicaiton is processed?

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You will receive notification by mail when your application has been processed by your County Clerk. Call your County Clerk if you have questions about your application. 
 
 

How do I change or update my voter registration?

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You may update your information online or by mail. You may also fill out another Voter Registration Application at your County Clerk's Office or other voter registration location.
 
 

How old must I be to register to vote?

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You must be 17 years old and 18 before the next general election. 17 year olds may register and vote in primary elections if they turn 18 before the next general election.
 
 

Do I need to be a United States Citizen before I register to vote?

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Yes, you must be a natural born or naturalized citizen of the United States to register to vote.
 
 

Is someone with a developmental disability allowed to register to vote?

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Yes, a person with a developmental disability is allowed to register to vote, unless he or she has been ruled mentally incompetent by a court of law.
 
 

Is someone with a mental health disorder allowed to register to vote?

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Yes, a person with a mental health disorder is allowed to register to vote, unless he or she has been ruled mentally incompetent by a court of law.
 
 

Is someone convicted of a crime allowed to register to vote?

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No one under conviction, probation, or parole for treason, bribery in an election, or any felony is allowed to vote. Once a person completes his or her sentence, he or she may register to vote again. 
 
 

May I use a PO Box address as my residence address on my application?

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No, you must have the address where you live on your voter registration. If the US Postal Service does not deliver mail to your residence address, please contact your County Clerk for instructions.
 
 

Is there a deadline for registering to vote?

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To vote in the next election, you must register at least 21 days before the date of the election.
 
 

Will my voter registration information stay private?

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Most voter information is public record, but the law says we must keep your sensitive information private. No one will release your social security number, driver's license or state ID number, telephone number, or email address.
 
 

May homeless people register to vote?

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Yes, if a person has no permanent residence but lives in the county, he or she may use the address of a shelter, assistance center, or family member.
 
 

How do I cancel my voter registration?

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You may cancel your voter registration by sending a written request to your County Clerk. Be sure to sign your request.
 
 

How do I cancel the voter registration of a deceased family member?

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If you are the parent, legal guardian, child, sibling, or spouse of a voter who has passed away, you may cancel his or her voter registration by completing the Affidavit for Voter Registration Cancellation of Deceased Voter and submitting it by mail or in person to your County Clerk.
 
 

How can I help other people register to vote?

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You can request up to 200 voter registration forms from the Secretary of State's Office. If you want more than 10 forms, you must fill out the Request for West Virginia Voter Registration Forms. Return the form to the Secretary of State's Office in person or by mail. You may also email your form to elections@wvsos.com.
 
 

When is the next election?

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Primary Election: Tuesday, May 10, 2016

General Election: Tuesday, November 8, 2016
 
 

When and where do I vote?

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Primary Election Early Voting Period: from April 27 to May 7, 2016 at your county courthouse or judicial annex. Contact your County Clerk to confirm Early Voting hours and locations. 

Primary Election Day: May 10, 2016, from 6:30AM to 7:30PM. Find your polling place.


General Election Early Voting Period: October 26 to November 5, 2016 at your county courthouse or judicial annex. Please contact your County Clerk to confirm Early Voting hours and locations.
General Election Day: November 8, 2016, from 6:30AM to 7:30PM. Find your polling place.  

Remember that on Election Day you must vote at your assigned polling location. If the polling place is not accessible to you because of a disability, contact your County Clerk as soon as possible to arrange for voting at another location.
 

What happens at the polling place?

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1) You will check in with the poll workers at the registration table (there may be a line). 
2) The poll worker will ask you to state your name and address, and they will search their list of registered voters for your name. 

*If you are a first-time voter, the poll workers may ask for your identification: What documents are accepted?
*If the poll worker does not find your name, you may vote a provisional ballot: What does it mean to vote provisional? 

3) The poll worker will show your name and address on the list of voters. He or she will then ask you to verify your information and sign. If your name or address has changed, you may update this information. If you have moved outside of your precinct but in the same county, you should call the County Clerk's Office to find out your new polling place. Your vote may not count if you vote in the wrong polling place on Election Day.
4) A poll worker will take you to the voting booth where you will vote your ballot. Different counties have different methods of voting: learn about your county's voting system.

*Voters with disabilities may learn about their voting opportunities here.

 

My poll workers said my ballot would be provisional. What does that mean?

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A poll worker may ask you to vote a provisional ballot if for some reason they do not find you eligible to vote. For example, if your name is not showing on their list of voters, they will ask you to vote a provisional ballot. This way, the voter registration office can check their records to make you are properly registered, and if you are, your vote will count.
 
 

Who is running for office?

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View pre-candidates for the 2016 election.
 
 

Who are the current elected officials?

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Find who is currently serving in federal, state, legislative and judicial offices, along with their term information, here.
 
 

Are polling places accessible to voters with disabilities?

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During statewide elections, all polling places in West Virginia have at least one voting machine that is accessible to voters with disabilities. During county-wide elections, there must be at least one accessible voting machine available in the county. If your polling location is not accessible to you, contact your County Clerk. Learn more about voting with disabilities.
 
 

Can someone help me vote my ballot?

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Yes, you may bring someone to assist you or two poll workers can help you vote your ballot. Reasons for receiving assistance in voting include blindness, disability, advanced age, or the inability to read and write. Just ask your poll worker.
 
 

I cannot make it to the polls. Can I vote by mail?

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If you cannot make it to your polling place during Early Voting or on Election day, you may be able to vote by mail: learn more about absentee voting.
 
 

How do I vote as a member of uniformed services on active duty, their spouse or dependent, or a citizen residing overseas?

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Uniformed service members on active duty inside or outside of the United States, their spouses and dependents, and citizens residing outside of the United States that consider West Virginia their last place of residence may vote by mail or electronically. You may start applying for a ballot beginning January first of each election year. Visit our military and overseas voting page to download an application and learn more about your voting opportunities.
   
   

I will be in the hospital on Election Day. How can I vote?

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If you are in the hospital on Election Day, two election officials can bring you an emergency absentee ballot. You or a family member should contact your County Clerk no earlier than the 7th day before the election and no later than noon election day. Some counties also allow a person who recently moved to a nursing home to vote an emergency absentee ballot. Learn more about emergency absentee voting.
 
 

I am in the Address Confidentiality Program. How can I vote?

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If you are a participant in the Address Confidentiality Program, you may apply to your County Clerk to receive a ballot for every election: learn more.
 
 

I have a permanent disability that prevents me from going to the polling place.
How can I vote?

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If you have a permanent, physical disability that prevents you from going to the polling place, you may apply to your County Clerk to receive a ballot by mail for every election: learn more.
 
 

I applied for an absentee ballot. When will my County Clerk send my ballot?

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Your County Clerk begins mailing ballots by the 46th day before the election.
 
 

What is the deadline for applying for an absentee ballot?

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Your County Clerk must receive your application by the sixth day before the election.
 
 

What is the deadline for sending my absentee ballot?

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If you mail your ballot, it must be postmarked by Election Day and your County Clerk must receive it by the start of canvass (five days after the election, excluding Sundays). If you or someone else hand-delivers your ballot, your County Clerk must receive it by the day before the election.
 
 

I sent my absentee ballot. How do I know if my County Clerk receives it?

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You may use our web application to find out the status of your ballot.
 
 

Which political parties are recognized in West Virginia?

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A political party becomes recognized in West Virginia when its candidate for governor receives at least one percent of votes cast for governor in previous general election (WV Code §3-1-8). We now have four recognized political parties:

 

What does it mean to become a recognized political party?

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Recognized political parties may nominate candidates for the general election in the primary election or by convention. Everyone else may only appear on the general election ballot by collecting signatures. Recognized political parties also elect people to form executive committees.
 

What are primary elections and conventions?

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The primary election is an election for the recognized political parties to nominate candidates for offices on the general election ballot. We also elect judges, party executive committee members, board of education members, and soil conservation supervisors in the primary election. A party may also choose to hold a convention to nominate candidates instead of by the primary election. You should contact your political party to find out how they choose to nominate their candidates.
 

Do I have to register with one of the recognized political parties?

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No, you may register as any political party or with no party. Just check “other” on your voter registration form and write in your party or check “unaffiliated” if you do not wish to register with a party.
 
 

What are minor, independent, and third parties?

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People often call political parties that have not gained recognized status minor, independent, or third party.
 

How do people not affiliated with a recognized political party run for office?

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A person may run for office as a political party that does not have recognized status or as no party by collecting signatures to appear on the general election ballot. Learn more.
 
 

How do I register in a political party?

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You may register in a political party when you register to vote. On the voter registration form, check the box beside the party you want or check “other” and write in your party. If you do not want to register with a party, check the box beside “unaffiliated.”
 

Does my political party matter in the primary election?

 
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As a voter, your political party makes a difference when you vote in the primary election because it determines which ballot you may receive. If you are registered with one of the four recognized political parties (Democratic, Libertarian, Mountain, or Republican), you may only vote that party’s ballot or the non-partisan ballot. If you are registered with any other party or with no party, you may ask the poll worker for one of the recognized party’s ballots, or they will give you the non-partisan ballot.
 
 

Will all of the recognized political parties have a ballot in the primary election?

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Not always. The recognized political parties may also nominate candidates for the general by convention. For example, in 2014 the Libertarian Party hosted their nominating convention on March 8 rather than participating in the primary election. For this reason, voters registered as Libertarian received a non-partisan ballot in the primary election.
 
 

Does my political party matter in the general election?

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No, every registered voter receives the same ballot in the general election. You will have the chance to vote for candidates from all of the political parties.
 
 

How do I change my political party?

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You may change your political party by completing a new voter registration application.
 

Are there any deadlines for changing my political party?

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You may change your political party on your voter registration at anytime, but keep in mind that your political party matters at the primary election. For your new party to apply at the next primary election, you must make your change at least 21 days before the election. If you make the change later, it will apply at the next primary election.

There are more rules for candidates. If you want to file for nomination as a candidate in the Democratic, Libertarian, Mountain, or Republican parties, you must register as that party no less than 60 days before filing.