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New voter ID law on the books in West Virginia

This is shaping up to be a huge election year, both nationwide and here in West Virginia, but you might not be aware that a new law is in the books that will affect you when you go to the polls. (WCHS/WVAH)

This is shaping up to be a huge election year, both nationwide and here in West Virginia, but you might not be aware that a new law is in the books that will affect you when you go to the polls.

It's a piece of legislation that was actually passed back in 2016, requiring identification from voters.

Of course, when the phrase “voter ID law” comes up, there are usually people who automatically become concerned about possibly suppressing votes or targeting a certain segment of the population, but there has been very little pushback with this law, mostly because it is so broad and non-restrictive. In fact, the biggest problem is simply that there are a lot of people who have no idea that there is a new law.

"For the voters who didn't know anything about it,” Elections Director Donald Kersey said. “Most are curious to how strict it is, and when we explain that it's not very strict at all, usually it’s, ‘OK.’ Actually, it's funny, most voters thought they had to show a driver’s license when they go to vote on Election Day."

The criteria is easy to meet. Basically, anything with your name on it, with or without a photo, will suffice. Secretary of State Mac Warner said he is hopeful the new law will provide a consistent, uniform rule with a basic principle.

"Voter ID enables us to ensure that you are who you say you are when you come to the polls,” Warner said.

According to Ballotpedia and the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of Feb. 1, 34 states enforce, or are scheduled to begin enforcing, voter identification requirements, with 18 of those 34 requiring photo identification.

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