Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

January 5, 2014

Voter registration rolls: Don’t ignore clerk forms

— — With the new year barely five days old, few folks in our region are probably thinking about casting a ballot, or preparing for another potentially ugly election cycle. And we really can’t blame folks for that. Memories of the federal government shutdown, and all of the partisan bickering that dominated political headlines in 2013, are still fresh.

But the truth of the matter is that 2014 is another key election year. Control of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives will be up for grabs later this year. And the stakes couldn’t be higher. The outcome of the midterm elections will have a direct impact on how successful President Barack Obama will be in completing his second-term agenda. If Democrats take both the House and keep the Senate then Obama will be in a much better position to advance his political agenda. If Republicans keep the House and take the Senate, he will face an uphill battle.

 And if Democrats keep the Senate, and Republicans keep the House, not a lot will change. Voters can basically expect two more years of political gridlock under that scenario — for better or worse.

Nevertheless it is going to be an important election year. And everyone who is registered to vote should do so later this year. That’s why election officials in West Virginia are taking important steps now to ensure that folks who want to vote will be able to do so this year.

Approximately 1.2 million voters are registered in West Virginia, and county clerks will be mailing more than 335,000 notifications to voters who may have changed their addresses or who have been idle for two federal election cycles, according to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.

The Mercer County Clerk’s Office is sending out 11,681 notifications, according to County Clerk Verlin Moye. The next election is the primary on May 13.

“These are little postcard mailers for people who have not voted or have not had any activity for some reason, probably due to an address discrepancy,” Moye said last week. Federal law requires states to update voter registries.

It will cost Mercer County about $2,000 to send out the notices. Moye is recommending that voters review their registration data whenever they have a question about it. Many other voter registrations arrive through the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

If you receive such a form in the mail, don’t throw it away or discard it. Recipients must mail the notices back to their county clerk’s office if they do not want to be dropped from the voter registration lists.

“If we do not get them back from the taxpayer, the voter, then we pull them from the system,” Moye said . “We purge them from the system. They wouldn’t be registered to vote.”

If you receive a form from your local county clerk’s office, please promptly fill it out and return it. The one thing we do not want to see is any registered voter being removed from the voter rolls. It is imperative that we increase — not decrease —the  number of registered voters here in the coalfields of southern West Virginia.

 

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