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county clerks

Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote before voting in the 2020 general election ends.

There’s still time for would-be West Virginia voters to get registered or update their registration with a new name or address in time to vote by Nov. 3.

State law requires voter registration to end 21 days before the election, and this year that day is Oct. 13.

There are approximately 1,245,339 registered voters in West Virginia, according to a news release from West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner.

For the 2020 election cycle, all registered voters are eligible to vote absentee due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters have until Oct. 28 to request an absentee ballot.

County clerks must have the absentee ballot application in hand at the close of the business day on Oct. 28. Voters also may request absentee ballots online.

As of Oct. 6, 108,650 people had requested absentee ballots, and 48,645 absentee ballots had been cast. To check the status of an absentee ballot, visit the Secretary of State’s website or call your local county clerk’s office.

Absentee ballots can be requested online at www.govotewv.com, or by calling your local county clerk’s office.

Traditional in-person voting options also are available amid the pandemic.

Early voting in West Virginia begins on Oct. 21 and ends Oct. 31. Voters can vote in-person at their local county clerk’s offices or at other areas designated by their county clerks. Early voting locations vary from county to county, and a call to a county clerk’s office can sort out what locations are open in a given county.

Voting will continue until Nov. 3, when voters will be able to vote in-person at their local precincts. The Secretary of State’s Office is keeping a list of precincts that have been combined or changed ahead of the election.

How can I tell if I’m registered to vote?

To check voter registration status, people can call their local county clerk’s offices or visit the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website.

To register to vote in West Virginia, a person must be 18 years old on or before the General Election. Eligible voters must be United States and West Virginia citizens and are required to register to vote in the county in which they reside.

People who are convicted of felonies, who are incarcerated or on parole or probation can’t register to vote, according to an informational pamphlet provided by the Secretary of State’s Office.

People convicted of felonies regain the right to re-register to vote after they complete their sentences, meaning they also have to have completed probation or parole in order to vote.

If you have registered to vote in the past, but you haven’t voted in four years or longer, it is possible you may no longer be a registered voter in West Virginia.

State law requires election officials to “purge” voters from their voter rolls when they have been inactive.

If you are listed as an inactive voter, but your registration remains intact, voting in the election can restore a voter’s status as “active.”

If you have moved to a new residence within the state or changed your name, you also can update your voter registration through Tuesday.

How do I register to vote? What do I need to have?

Online voter registration and registering in-person at a county clerk’s office must take place by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Voter registration applications that are mailed in with a postmark for Oct. 13 will be accepted at a county clerk’s office if they arrive after Tuesday.

To register to vote, state law requires a valid ID to be presented with the application, which can include a valid photo identification card, a utility bill, a bank statement, a government check, a paycheck or any other official government document that includes the person’s name and physical address.

People who mail in their applications will need to include a copy of their ID cards or documents with the application.

In addition to the identifying cards or documents, people who have been convicted of felonies must provide “off papers,” documents indicating they no longer are on parole, probation or otherwise serving their sentence.

Reach Lacie Pierson at lacie.pierson@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1723 or follow @laciepierson on Twitter.