By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian
The deadline for new voters to register before the May 13 primary is fast approaching.
Residents have until 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday to go to a government office, such as the county clerk’s office or the DMV, and fill out a voter registration card.
Janice Cosco, Marion County clerk, said that residents can stop by Monday or Tuesday at her office in the Marion County Courthouse in downtown Fairmont between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
“All they need is a government ID or a driver’s license,” Cosco said.
The primary election allows Democrats and Republicans to vote for those who will appear on the ballot as candidates for their parties in the election in November.
But not only registered Democrats and Republicans will be able to vote in the primary — independents and those registered with no party affiliation can vote as well.
“On election day, they go to the polling place, and then the voter must ask for a political party’s ballot,” Cosco said. “They can select one party and vote for the candidates in that party.”
If you do not know where your polling place is located, you can call the county clerk’s office at 304-367-5447 or 304-367-5449.
If you have moved, and your voter’s registration card is no longer accurate, you can just call the county clerk’s office to get it changed.
Marion County currently has 39,775 active voters registered. Active voters are voters who vote at least once in five years. If a voter is inactive, they are still registered to vote, but their voter’s registration card gets moved to the back of the voter registration book the poll workers use during the election. This makes finding voters’ names faster on election day.
Of the 39,775 active voters in Marion County, there are 23,486 registered Democrats, 8,757 Republicans, 1,983 independents and 5,207 with no party affiliation.
Residents shouldn’t put off registering just because they know they won’t be able to vote on election day – if they register by Tuesday, they will be able to vote using early voting or absentee voting.
“If they’re going to be out of county or out of state, then they can request an absentee-by-mail ballot,” Cosco said.
Cosco said they can also request a ballot by mail if they are in the hospital, unable to leave their home, or otherwise unable to get to the polls.
“The ballot is sent to them after we receive the application. Then they send it back to us,” Cosco said.
Cosco said that votes by mail are still confidential, just as if the voter had voted in person at a polling place.
“The ballot is always a secret ballot. No one will ever know how they vote,” Cosco said.
Voters can also vote early from Wednesday April 30 through Saturday May 10 at Mannington City Hall or the Al Babcock Room in the first floor the J. Harper Meredith Building in downtown Fairmont. Voters can vote Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Anyone that is registered can vote early,” Cosco said.
Email Colleen S. Good at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.