CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Secretary of State Mac Warner announced today that working with county clerks in all 55 counties they have now removed more than 47,000 outdated or ineligible voter files from the state’s voter registration system.
“In just 93 days, we’ve proven that we can make great strides in cleaning up our voter files when we work together with our county clerks. We still have a lot of work to do and I’m confident that we’ll get the job done,” Warner said.
Since taking office, Warner has encouraged his Elections Division staff to explore reliable and accurate ways to eliminate outdated files from the county voter rolls. One such strategy is working with the state Division of Corrections (DOC) to eliminate convicted felons who are ineligible to be registered vote while incarcerated. Over the last three weeks, county clerks have eliminated 1,170 felons from voter files.
Warner said the list of felons was long for the first round of eliminations. Moving forward, county clerks will receive a monthly report from the DOC delivered in the Statewide Voter Registration System where the list is convenient to manage by the clerk and their staff. Future lists should be smaller, and may have just two or three names per county per month.
“Once we start, it’s much easier to stay on top of the list and to keep every county voter file up-to-date. That’s one of the best ways to instill confidence into our elections,” Warner continued.
Other strategies include using previously unavailable data comparisons of voters in-state as well as out-of-state to eliminating those who are deceased, have duplicate registrations due to name variations, or those who are filed in more than one county.
“Being mistakenly registered in more than one county is not illegal. The additional registrations are problematic because they create the opportunity for voting errors and unnecessarily clutters the rolls. Voting in more than one county is illegal,” Warner said.
The next step for the Secretary of State’s Office will be to do a national review of deceased voters whose death records have not have been accessible to county clerks with prior technology. The Office has a long term goal to work with other states to eliminate duplicate registrations. People who used to live and were registered in West Virginia but moved to other states without notifying their county clerk to cancel their registrations could number in the tens of thousands.