Voter registration deadline quickly approaching
By Carrie Hodousek, WV MetroNews
Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote in West Virginia’s Primary Election.
In the last week, the Secretary of State’s Office saw a surge of over 10,000 people who interacted with their online voter registration portal.
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant credited Facebook and other social media sites for asking users if they’ve registered to vote yet.
“I think that it just goes to show you what citizens do in the year 2016 when we interact with social media,” she said. “It’s reminding you that it’s time to get registered to vote.”
West Virginia joined more than 30 states in Sept. 2015 to implement an online voter registration portal. Since then, Tennant said there have been more than 33,000 submissions from citizens in all 55 counties — including new registered voters or those who made changes to their information. Three percent were name changes, 22 percent have been party changes and 25 percent have been address changes.
About 50 percent of those 33,000 submissions were made by new voters.
As of Monday morning, the breakdown of new voters who made online submissions included 12,409 Republicans, 11,829 Democrats and 6,692 non affiliates.
The top five counties to use the online system included Monongalia, Wood, Berkeley, Raleigh and Harrison.
Tennant said Tuesday has been the most popular day of the week for online registration interactions with the largest amount of submissions occurring between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
“It proves to me that this is what citizens of West Virginia want,” Tennant said. “You should have that accessibility. If we have technology, we should use it to keep our voter roles clean, to save time and money.”
She added that West Virginians deserve to have modernized elections.
“If you give opportunities and choice to the people of West Virginia, this is what they’re choosing. They’re choosing to go online because it works best with their schedule and best with their every day lives,” she said.
With the state’s Primary Election less than a month away, Tennant said she didn’t want to predict voter turnout.
“You don’t put a number on it,” she said. “The voters will be the ones who determine it.”
In-person registrations can be filed with your county clerk. Mail has to be post marked by Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Online registrations can be submitted until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night.
“I say why wait until the last minute? Do it when you have an opportunity now,” Tennant said.
Primary Election Day in West Virginia is May 10.