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 Voter FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

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?
When will I receive my voter registration card in the mail?
How do I 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 mental disability allowed to vote?
Is someone convicted of a crime vote allowed 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?
I am a member of uniformed services on active duty, their spouse or dependent, or a citizen residing overseas. How can I vote?
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 it matter which political party I choose?
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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Click this link and enter your name and birthday to search for your voter registration information.

 
 
How do I register to vote?  Back to top

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:

For more information this process, visit our Instructions for Registering to Vote page.

 
Can I register to vote online?  Back to top
No, but we are working on it.
 
 
Do I need identification when I register to vote?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
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. ​
 
 
When will I receive my voter registration card in the mail?  Back to top
You should receive your voter registration card within ten days.
 
 
How do I update my voter registration?  Back to top
You may fill out another Voter Registration Application at your County Clerk's Office or other voter registration location. You may also mail it to your County Clerk.
 
 
How old must I be to register to vote?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
Yes, you must be a natural born or naturalized citizen of the United States to register to vote.
 
 
Is someone with a mental disability allowed to vote?  Back to top
If a person is ruled mentally incompetent by a court of law, then they are not allowed to vote.
 
 
Is someone convicted of a crime allowed to vote?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
No, you must have the address where you live on your voter registration.
 
 
Is there a deadline for registering to vote?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
Our general election is November 4, 2014.
 
 
When and where do I vote?  Back to top
You can vote during Early Voting from October 22 to November 1, 2014: check here for your county's Early Voting hours and locations.

Or you can vote at your polling place on Election Day, November 4, 2014 from 6:30AM to 7:30PM: check here to 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?  Back to top
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: check here to see what documents are accepted.
*If the poll worker does not find your name, you may vote a provisional ballot: check here to learn what it means 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: check here to learn about your counties voting system.

*If you are worried about voting because you have a disability, check here to learn about your voting opportunities.

 
My poll workers said my ballot would be provisional. What does that mean?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
Check here for a list of current candidates for office.
 
 
Who are the current elected officials?  Back to top
Check here for the list of current elected officials.
 
 
Are polling places accessible to voters with disabilities?  Back to top
During statewide elections, all polling places in West Virginia have at least one voting machine that is accessible to voters with disabilities. During countywide 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. Click here to learn more about voting with disabilities.
 
 
Can someone help me vote my ballot?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
If you cannot make it to your polling place during Early Voting or on Election day, you may be able to vote by mail: check here to see if you are eligible and learn how to apply.
 
 
I am a member of uniformed services on active duty, their spouse or dependent, or a
citizen residing overseas. How can I vote?
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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. Click here to download an application and learn more about military and overseas voting.
   
   
I will be in the hospital on Election Day. How can I vote?  Back to top
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 here.
 
 
I am in the Address Confidentiality Program. How can I vote?  Back to top
If you are a participant in the Address Confidentiality Program, you may apply to your County Clerk to receive a ballot for every election: check here to 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: check here to learn more.
 
 
I applied for an absentee ballot. When will my County Clerk send my ballot?  Back to top
Your County Clerk begins mailing ballots by the 46th day before the election.
 
 
What is the deadline for applying for an absentee ballot?  Back to top
Your County Clerk must receive your application by the sixth day before the election.
 
 
What is the deadline for sending my absentee ballot?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
Click here to check on your ballot.
 
 
Which political parties are recognized in West Virginia?  Back to top

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?  Back to top
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? Back to top
The primary election is an election for the recognized political parties to nominate candidates for offices on the general election ballot. We also elect 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? Back to top
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?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
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. Click here to learn more about this process.
 
 
How do I register in a political party? Back to top
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 it matter which political party I choose?   Back to top
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?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
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?  Back to top
You may change your political party by filling out a new voter registration form and submitting it to your County Clerk or at any Motor Voter office.
 
Are there any deadlines for changing my political party?  Back to top
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.