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Time running out for voter registration

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

Next weekend will be a long one for workers in county clerks' offices in West Virginia.

Because the deadline to register to vote in West Virginia for the May 9 primary election is April 10, those offices will be open for longer hours.

"State law requires us to stay open longer next weekend," said Janice Cox, Doddridge county clerk. "We'll be open Friday evening until 8 (p.m.), on Saturday from 9 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.) and on Monday until 8 (p.m.)."

Those extended hours are the same for all counties in North Central West Virginia.

But residents do not have to make the trip to the county clerk's office to register anymore. They now have other options available, Cox said.

"They can go to the (Division of Motor Vehicles) or any state agency," she said.

"They need to bring a driver's license, or anything with their signature that is proof of their identification."

And, not everybody needs to register, said Mary Lou Myers, Lewis County clerk.

"It's not like it used to be," she said. "When you miss two (primaries) and two (generals) we don't pull your name anymore.

"If people think they're not registered -- if they haven't voted in the last two or three years, the best thing to do is call the county clerk's office in the county in which they reside."

That also will give voters a chance to update their registrations, such as changing addresses, or names for those recently married, she said.

The April 10 deadline is the last day for new voter registrations, and for past voters to change political parties.

In keeping with past trends, this year seems to be busy for those in the voter registration offices.

"It seems like we're having a lot more interest this year," Myers said. "I think it's due to (a television campaign) and, in this county, our candidates are out talking to people in the area."

Lewis County's voter registration rolls have about 200 more this year, she said. About 85 to 90 of those came from a recent trip to area high schools to register those students 18 and older, she said.

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