Last week, Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant kicked off National Voter Registration Month by sharing information about state requirements and deadlines for voter registration in West Virginia leading up to this year’s general election.
“The Secretary of State’s Office, along with county clerks and partner organizations, encourage voter registration throughout the year,” said Tennant. “National Voter Registration Month simply gives us a spotlight and increased awareness around this important first step. As we push voter registration, we also always talk about making your voice heard at the ballot box.”
Every day during the month of September, the Secretary of State’s Office will share on its social media channels one video featuring a West Virginian talking about why they feel it’s important to vote. The video series features West Virginians from the disability community, our religious community, teachers, students, government officials, the League of Women Voters, veterans, seniors and several more well-known celebrities.
“I’m enthusiastic about this video series because it features real West Virginians giving the real reasons why they vote. Each perspective is different and each is inspiring. In addition to hearing from the Secretary of State’s Office on why to vote, I hope that West Virginians will listen to their fellow West Virginians and help us encourage folks to register and then vote.”
In addition to the video series, the Secretary of State’s Office will work throughout September with partner organizations to host voter registration drives and provide information for voter registration activities across the state.
The deadline for registering to vote or updating information for the general election is Tuesday, Oct. 18.. Eligible West Virginians can go to www.govotewv.com to complete an online voter registration application or download a form to mail in. They may also visit or contact their county clerk’s office.
Secretary Tennant has pushed initiatives that make registering to vote easier, including online voter registration and automatic voter registration. In its first 11 months, the Secretary of State’s online voter registration application system has seen more than 45,000 interactions, including nearly 20,000 new voter registrations.
Secretary Tennant encouraged West Virginians to share the “Why I Vote” videos from the Office with friends and colleagues, and share the reasons why they vote on social media by using the hashtag #GoVoteWV. Each “Why I Vote” video, once released, may be viewed by visiting the West Virginia Secretary of State’s YouTube page.
Additionally, Tennant issued the following statement on the security of West Virginia’s election systems:
“When we talk about election security, it’s important to note that we’re talking about two different things – the security of the voting machine and security of databases.
“In West Virginia, our voting machines are not connected to the Internet. Each voting machine is stand alone, with three points of back up for information submitted via the machine including paper ballot, internal system information and flash card. A security breach with voting machines would have to involve our election administrators and there are numerous safeguards in place to prevent that from happening.
“The Secretary of State’s Office protects its online databases and files not just during election years, but all the time. We currently have strong security measures in place to protect our online database systems, but we know that we can never be too careful. That’s why we continue to review our security measures and upgrade protections based on national recommendations and best practices as they’re updated.
“We are always monitoring threats and are in close contact with other Secretaries of State and federal and state entities to make sure that we’re doing everything possible to protect our systems.”