The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia is partnering with the non-profit law firm Mountain State Justice, Inc. and students at the West Virginia University College of Law to offer a hotline for voters who are facing issues at the polls. Voters should contact the hotline if, for instance, their names do not appear on the voter rolls, they are being told they have the wrong ID, or they cannot access the polling place.
The hotline opened on Election Day, November 6, and will also be available to voters during early voting, which starts on October 24 and continues through November 3. In the event the hotline is busy, voters will be able to leave a message and can expect a return call.
“Voting is one of the most fundamental rights in a democracy,” said Loree Stark, Legal Director at ACLU-WV. “We hope voters don’t encounter problems in exercising their right to vote, but we anticipate there may be some confusion with the new voter identification law that went into effect this year.”
The voter identification law, which took effect January 1, requires individuals to provide one of 18 approved forms of identification to vote. The list of approved forms of identification includes government-issued IDs such as drivers’ licenses and social security cards. Other documents, including bank statements, bank cards or recent utility bills also qualify. If voters do not have identification, an adult can attest to their identity by signing an affidavit. Voters can vote via provisional ballot and request a receipt to track the ballot if they cannot meet any of those requirements.
“If voters run into anything unusual and are unable to get help from election officials, we are here to help resolve those issues,” said Michael Nissim-Sabat, Staff Attorney at Mountain State Justice.
Starting October 24, voters can call the hotline at 681-443-7083 or 681-443-7084. Voters can find more information about approved forms of identification, registration status and polling places at the Secretary of State’s website: https://sos.wv.gov/elections/Pages/GoVoteWV.aspx.