Voters in at least eight West Virginia counties have been mailed “misleading and confusing” material that may make them incorrectly believe they aren’t eligible to vote in next month’s election, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said Tuesday. The leaflets — mailed by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation — warn voters that if they do not update their voter registration, they may lose their right to vote in the upcoming primary election on May 13. The mailings included voter registration cards and prepaid return envelopes addressed to county clerks. Tuesday was the last day to register to vote for the May 13 primary, and a Tennant spokesman said the mailing could convince people whose voter registrations are perfectly valid that they aren’t allowed to vote.
“We were concerned that people were reporting getting this leaflet [Monday and Tuesday],” said spokesman Jake Glance. “We are concerned, since [Tuesday was] the final day to change your registration to vote. We are particularly concerned about people who went to work in the morning, then got this mailing when they returned in the evening. Some opened their mail and said, ‘Oh, my gosh, I missed the deadline to update my voter registration.’”
In a statement, Tennant said there are only three reasons voters need to update their registration: if they moved, if they changed their name, or if they want to change their party affiliation. “If none of those apply, a citizen’s voter registration is still valid,” Tennant said.
Glance said the leaflets were mailed to registered voters in at least eight counties, including Berkeley, Jefferson and Marion.