POINT PLEASANT — Early voting begins across West Virginia today, making Mason County’s nearly 18,000 registered voters eligible to cast a ballot.
Early voting takes place now through May 5 at the Mason County Courthouse. Hours are 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturdays during the early voting period. All early voting takes place on the second floor of the Mason County Courthouse in the County Commission meeting room.
County Clerks across the state, including Mason County’s Diana Cromley and her staff, are acclimating to new regulations passed by legislators which have to do with voter identification.
According to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, beginning Jan. 1, voters must show a form of identification to vote in person during the early voting period or on Election Day. This new law does not apply to absentee-by-mail voting.
A few (but not all) of the acceptable forms of non-photo identification permitted are: voter registration card, Medicare of Social Security Card, birth certificate, WV SNAP ID card, bank or debit card, recent bank statement or utility bill, etc. A few (but not all) acceptable forms of photo ID are: a West Virginia issued drivers license or licensed issued by another state, U.S. passport or passport card, military ID, student ID, etc.
There are exceptions to the voter ID requirement. A voter does not have to show an ID to vote if the voter is accompanied by an adult who has known the voter for at least six months, shows a photo ID with his or her name or address and signs an affidavit at the polling place confirming the voter’s identity. Another exception is, a voter does not have to show ID to vote if a poll worker has known the voter for at least six months. No additional affidavit or ID is required. A third and final exception relates to residents of a licensed state care facility – those voters do not have to produce ID to vote if the voter is a resident at the facility, the care facility is a polling place and the polling place is located at the care facility.
New registered voters, who registered by mail and have not yet presented identification, will need to provide one of the following when voting: a valid photo ID, copy of current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or document. The poll book should reflect these voters needing to show ID.
Cromley said her office is there to assist voters with questions about this new law and anything pertaining to voting in Mason County. Cromley said voters can apply for a free voter ID card from her office if they cannot obtain any of the forms of ID accepted to vote. Applications for the card must be submitted in person and cards can either be mailed or picked up in her office.
For more information, call Cromley’s office at 304-675-1997.
(Editor’s note: As the Primary Election inches closer, the Point Pleasant Register is compiling free, candidate profiles which will run in print and online, leading up to May 8. Due to space and time constraints, the profiles will only include candidates in contested races in the primary. Eligible candidates who have not yet received an invitation to participate, may contact Beth Sergent, editor at Ohio Valley Publishing at email@example.com, with any questions. Deadline for submission of materials is 6 p.m., Sunday, April 29.)
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.