This is an urgent message from Kathy Stoltz, LWVWV Director of State Government and Election Laws.
Below is a message from Natalie Tennant with more information about the Voter ID/AVR bill. The subcommittee referenced in the Action Alert I sent Saturday met this morning and will meet again Thursday morning. They may report the bill back to the full committee after that meeting (or may delay). Someone who was there this morning feels that of the 3 subcommittee members, Delegates Zatezalo and Kessinger want to limit ID to photo ID. The 3rd member, Del. Lovejoy, opposes 2781 and wants to implement the bill that passed last year.
Misinformation about AVR is out there, saying that people will be registered against their will. They will not; people can decline to register. A list of Judiciary Committee members is attached. Please be in touch with committee members, especially any from your area, and let them know you oppose HB2781. Implementing the provisions of the existing law that 2781 will overturn is good for WV voters.
I thought the compromise on Voter ID and Automatic Voter Registration last year meant we wouldn’t have to discuss it this session. But HB2781 seeks to make it more difficult to vote by allowing fewer choices to use to show identification at the polling place.
It also repeals Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) at the DMV. The DMV dragged its feet on this. They had a whole year to get this put in place. In the summer of 2016, we in the Secretary of State’s office convened a working committee made up of County Clerks, the DMV, the SOS, the Brennan Center, League of Women Voters, Center for Secure and Modern Elections, Citizens Action Group and representatives of the four recognized political parties in WV to write the rules required by the legislation. The DMV attended one meeting.
If it’s not repealed, there may be an effort to delay the implementation of AVR. While that may save it for a little bit, it is not good government because the DMV is in the middle of a system upgrade. They should just implement AVR while doing the upgrade. It would be more efficient. Also, it is not an expensive implementation. It was only $33,000 to do Online Voter Registration (OVR). Money can be used from the Motor Voter Fund.
This process is part of moving elections forward. Modernization makes voter rolls more accurate and current, which makes systems easier to maintain and, critically, helps preserve the integrity of the ballot. It also saves counties time and money.
This bill is now in a subcommittee that meets Tuesday morning, March 14 at 8:30am. Committee members are Kayla Kessinger (R) Fayette, Mark Zatezalo (R) Hancock, and Chad Lovejoy (D) Cabell.
I know it’s a busy session, and you probably already know about this bill, but if you have time, let your lawmaker know how you feel. Also let me know if you no longer want to receive email updates on this bill.
Thank you for your help and for always standing up for West Virginians.
2017 WV Legislature, House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Members
Links to members and committee agendas/minutes
Delegate Shott – Chair
Delegate Hanshaw – Vice-Chair
Delegate Fleischauer – Minority Chair
Delegate Fluharty – Minority Vice-Chair
Delegate Foster, G.
Delegate Foster, N.
Delegate Miller, R.