By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
The last day to register to vote in the upcoming November election is looming in the two Virginias.
Tazewell County Registrar Deborah Barrett said voters in Virginia have until the registration offices close today to register so they can vote in the election on Nov. 6.
“You have to register by (today) if you want to participate on Election Day,” Barrett said. “Absentee voting is in full swing already. However, you cannot register and vote absentee at the same time.”
Barrett said 1,076 new voters have registered in Tazewell County since Virginia’s June primary. Additionally, Barrett said 179 voters have transferred into Tazewell County from another Virginia locality since the primary. According to Barrett, Virginia voters do not register by party.
Buchanan County Registrar Vicky Clevinger said 332 new voters have registered in the county since June.
“We have had a lot of new registrants since the primary,” Clevinger said. “In the last couple of days, we have had several absentee ballots come in as well. If people want to vote, then they have to register.”
Giles County Registrar Donna Altizer said 115 new voters have registered in the county.
“That is very good for this year,” Altizer said. “We are very busy preparing for the election. We have been working hard to get as many people registered as we can.”
A spokesperson with the Bland County Registrar’s Office said “a significant” number of new voters have registered in the county, but voter registration totals were not yet available.
Absentee voters in Virginia have until Nov. 3 to cast their ballot in person and must have all absentee ballots postmarked by Oct. 27 if they are mailing in their ballot, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections.
Due to new voter ID laws, voters in Virginia must present ID such as a valid Virginia driver’s license or student ID card from any in-state college to cast their ballots.
Meanwhile, county clerks, poll workers and other employees in West Virginia are also gearing up for the state’s registration deadline. West Virginia voters have until Tuesday to register to vote.
Mercer County Clerk Verlin Moye said approximately 1,000 new voters have registered in the county since the West Virginia primary in May.
“The last count I had was 722 registrations at the end of September, but we know that has changed,” he said. “Between now and September, I would guess we had another 300. I would estimate we have at least 1,000 new registrations total. They have been rolling in as well as the absentee ballot requests. There is a lot of interest in this election, and I am glad to see that.”
Emily Jones, a spokesperson with the McDowell County Clerk’s office, said a total of 339 people have registered in McDowell County since the May primary. Of those new registrants, Jones said 133 registered as Democrats, 56 as Republicans, 62 as independents and 88 as no party affiliation.
Jones said officials are expecting a good turnout during the election.
“The deadline is Oct. 16 on Tuesday for anyone who wants to vote,” Jones said. “We are doing our best to get the word out so everyone can register. I think we can expect a pretty good turnout this year.”
According to Monroe County Clerk Donald J. Evans, a total of 215 people have registered to vote in Monroe County since the May primary. Of those new registrations, Evans said 64 registered as Democrats, 62 as Republicans, two as Mountain Party, and 87 selected no party affiliation on their registration.
According to a statement released by West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office, voter registration applications in West Virginia must be in to the county clerk’s office by closing or postmarked by Tuesday. Tennant said new voters registering by mail must bring with them a current photo ID showing their address or a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document proving their name and address.
“This ID requirement only applies to you if this is your first time voting after you registered by mail to vote,” Tennant said. “If you have voted before, your identity is verified every time by your signing the poll book either at your polling place or your early voting location.”
Early voting in West Virginia will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 24 and includes the Saturdays of Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. There will be no early voting on Sunday, Oct. 28.
— Contact Kate Coil at firstname.lastname@example.org