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Tomblin Signs Voter ID, Automatic Voter Registration Bill

Perry Bennett
West Virginia Legislative Photography
Gov. Tomblin during his 2016 State of the State Address.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill that requires voters to show some form of identification before casting a ballot at his or her polling place as well as creates an an automatic voter registration process system. 

The bill was the result of a conference committee on the final night of the session that negotiated an expanded list of the forms of identification. They include:

  • Any government issued ID or permit, with or without a photo, including a voter registration card
  • Any college or high school issued ID
  • A health insurance card
  • A utility bill
  • A bank card or bank statement
  • Verification of identification by another adult who has known the voter for at least 6 months, including a poll worker

The bill also requires the Secretary of State's Office to work with the Division of Motor Vehicles to create an automatic voter registration system.
Currently, the DMV has an opt in voter registration policy that allows West Virginian to register to vote while applying for or renewing a license. The change would require West Virginians to opt out of the registration process.

On the final night of the session, Tomblin said he did not believe the requirement to provide some type of identification would place any additional burden on West Virginia voters.

The bill takes effect January 1, 2018.

Ashton Marra covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program. Ashton can also be heard Sunday evenings as she brings you state headlines during NPR’s weekend edition of All Things Considered. She joined the news team in October of 2012.

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