Mountain State Milestone: West Virginia Launches OVR

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[Image courtesy of all-flags-world]

Two years after being one of the early wave of states to enact online voter registration, West Virginia recently became one of the latest states to go live with its OVR portal. The Registrar-Herald has more:

Access to vote is now easier for West Virginians with the ability to register to vote electronically through the Secretary of State’s website.

Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant made the announcement [September 30], wrapping up National Voter Registration Month.

“Online voter registration is a matter of accessibility for all,” Tennant said. “Whether it’s a high school student registering for the first time, a senior citizen who’s recently relocated to an assisted care facility or a military member serving outside of our state or country — West Virginians will now have a convenient and secure electronic option for voter registration or updates …”

Eligible voters are still able to register to vote by paper and mail it or take it to their county clerk. They can also download a paper voter registration form from the Secretary of State’s website.

In addition to voter registration, the new site also allows currently registered voters to easily make updates to their voter record, such as a change of address or party affiliation. West Virginia will join 24 other states currently offering online voter registration.

SoS Tennant – like many of her counterparts in OVR states – is excited about the change, which will pull from existing state databases to identify and qualify voters:

“This is a historic time for West Virginia. The unveiling of our online voter registration system marks one of the biggest technological advancements to the state’s voter registration system,” said Tennant. “As the state’s Chief Election Official, it is my responsibility to remove any and all barriers to the democratic process while simultaneously protecting the integrity of our elections. Citizens can rest-assured that we have taken every precaution to ensure this system is secure. We have also worked hard to make it user-friendly. West Virginia is leading the way in modernizing the election process and I am proud of the system we have created.”

The online voter registration platform is directly linked to the West Virginia DMV system, and if an applicant has a driver’s license or West Virginia state ID card, the signature already on file with the DMV can immediately be linked to the voter record. Applicants who do not have a driver’s license or state ID card will be able to print, sign and mail the completed online application to their county voter registration office.

West Virginia’s enactment of SB 477 in 2013 made it one of the first wave of states to adopt OVR; now, this week’s announcement means that half the states have functioning OVR portals with more on the way. It’s safe to say that no change in elections in recent years has been more rapid that OVR adoption and implementation – and now West Virginia has joined the list.

The state’s new OVR portal can be found at https://ovr.sos.wv.gov/Register. Congratulations to Secretary Tennant and her team for following through on the promise to Mountain State voters.

Stay tuned …

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