In an effort to increase participation in the electoral process, Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant announced last week that her office has mailed postcards to West Virginians who may be eligible to vote but are not yet registered. Eligible, but unregistered residents are encouraged to apply for voter registration before the October 18 deadline.
The postcard mailing is part of West Virginia’s membership with the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a non-profit organization whose mission is “assisting states to improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls and increase access to voter registration to eligible citizens.” The organization currently has 21 member states — including border states of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland — that share voter registration information in an effort to improve the accuracy of local voter rolls by eliminating duplicate, deceased and out-of-state voting records. All ERIC member states agree to reach out to potentially eligible but unregistered citizens before federal general elections.
“As election administrators across the country and across our state know, it’s not enough to simply get all eligible voters registered,” said Secretary Tennant. “We must also be vigilant in keeping our rolls clean and encouraging registered West Virginians to vote. While this postcard’s direct purpose is to remind eligible voters about the ways that they can get registered to vote, we will be working with ERIC over the coming months to receive data that can be used exclusively for voter roll maintenance.”
The postcard mailing is being sent to eligible voters as part of the overall effort to make sure West Virginia’s voter rolls are up to date. The mailing list was compiled by comparing statewide voter registration records from the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Because member states submit data to ERIC every 60 days, the consortium’s data is more up to date than other national data sets. All data is securely transferred and personal identifying information is anonymized before and after it is submitted to the ERIC data center. ERIC compares these records among states and with data from the U.S. Postal Service and Social Security Administration.
Recipients who believe they received the postcard in error are encouraged to check their voter registration status online at www.govotewv.com. Recipients who have further questions should call their local county clerk’s office or the Secretary of State’s Office at 304-558-6000.
The registration deadline to vote in the November General election is October 18. Both the online voter registration system and a printable voter registration form may be accessed at www.govotewv.com. Eligible voters may still register to vote by paper and mail it or take it to their county clerk. They can download a paper voter registration form from the Secretary of State’s website or pick up an application from their local county clerk.