By: Jordan Smith
West Virginia is undergoing what appears to be a voter registration revolution as the state legislature continues to make strides to simplify access to the ballot box. The following post aims to discuss these advancements in an effort to summarize the current state of voter registration in the Mountain State.
In 2013, former-Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, signed into law SB 477, which amended the state constitution to allow for online voter registration (OVR). The state was not quick to implement the OVR system, as the Secretary of State’s Office did not unveil an official program until the latter half of 2015. In essence, the now-implemented OVR application requires a registrant to supply the same information required on the paper registration cards: full name, birthdate, location, citizenship status, last four digits of the registrant’s social security number, and the registrant’s driver’s license/state-issued ID number. If a registrant does not have a state-issued ID or driver’s license, they must instead complete and submit a standard paper form. As a result, while OVR streamlines the process for certain registrants, it does so only for those who would likely have already taken advantage of the “motor voter” provisions of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 or the state’s newer electronic voter registration system at the Department of Motor Vehicles.