West Virginia became the 35th state to enter the US on June 20, 1863. The state capital and largest city in the state is Charleston. The state is approximately 24,230 square miles in size, making it the 41st biggest state in the US. People who live in West Virginia call themselves West Virginians. Major state industries include the mining of coal, raising of livestock, manufacture of chemicals and glass products and tourism. Spruce Knob, in the state, is the highest point at 4,863 feet or 1,482 meters above sea level and the Potomac River is the lowest point at 240 feet or 73 meters above sea level.
The state, which contains 55 counties, borders the states of Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and Pennsylvania. West Virginia goes by the nickname of the “Mountain State” and its state motto reads Montani semper liberi – “Mountaineers are always free.” The state has three state songs – “The West Virginia Hills,” “West Virginia My Home” and “This is My West Virginia.” The three listed songs are titles that often go through felons’ minds when they complete their prison sentences.
According to the Brennan Centre for Justice at the New York University School of Law, West Virginia reinstates a felon’s right to vote when he or she completes their prison sentence, probation and parole. At that time, he or she can re-register to vote in the next election.
Felon Voting Law in West Virginia
In West Virginia, online voter registration is permitted; however, a system has not yet been put into place or implemented by the state. The state also permits early voting. However, the state does not enforce “no-excuse” absentee voting. Voters in West Virginia also do not have to show identification when they vote at the polls. However, if you are a first-time voter, you may be asked to show proof of identification. You can find out more about voters’ rights in the state by referring to the following link. West Virginia is one of 19 states that permit voting after a felon has met the requirements for his or her sentence, including supervised release (probation and parole).
How a Felon in West Virginia Can Restore Their Voting Rights
To vote in an election in West Virginia, you must be a US citizen and a resident of the state. The registration deadline is set at 21 days prior to the election date. You can register to vote by submitting a registration form to the Secretary of State’s office or the county clerk’s office.
Other agencies or offices that will accept registration forms include the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), any state public assistance office or any agency that serves individuals with disabilities. Marriage license offices or military recruiting stations also will receive voter registrations. Again, while the legislature in the state has approved online voter registration, a system has not yet been established.
West Virginia election polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time. If the polls close while a voter is still in line, he or she is still permitted to vote. The state also facilitates a hybrid primary system. Voters in the state may vote absentee for any the foregoing reasons:
· A voter will be traveling or working all of the 13 days before a scheduled lection.
· Hours of employment make going to the polls impossible.
· The voter resides in another locale part of the year.
· A voter has been given a job where he or she must live outside the state or their county.
· The voter has a physical disability or health condition.
· The voter has been hospitalized as the result of an emergency and will be undergoing hospital care seven days before and during the scheduled election.
· The individual is incarcerated or in home detention (not for treason, bribery in an election or for a felony).
In order to cast an absentee vote, your request must be submitted to the county clerk by the sixth day prior to the election date. The completed absentee ballot must be postmarked by the election date and received by Friday after a major election or a Monday following a general election.
Other Resources For Felons in West Virginia
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