Some high school students who recently turned 18 will be eligible to vote for the first time. Many are excited for this, since voting has been considered a rite of passage into adulthood for generations. For those who are not certain about the process, here are some things you need to know.
In order to vote, you must have registered by April 22. By registering even a day after the deadline, you will still be able to vote by the general election, but not in this one.
You must turn 18 by November 10 in order to register, and to you must be a citizen of West Virginia for state elections.
Polling places will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on May 13. The state government will be closed, so schools will not be in session. Those who work in businesses that are not closed for the day but still wish to vote can ask their employer for three hours off to do so. This must be done in writing at least three days before the election.
West Virginia has a closed primary, so voters can only vote for candidates of the party they registered for. In other words, if you are registered as a Democrat, you cannot vote for a Republican candidate unless you file a party change no less than 21 days before the election. However, in the general election, you will be able to choose from any party.
Keep in mind that in this election, voters are not voting candidates into office, but choosing candidates for the next election.
All voters will be required to show their voter’s registration card and proof of their identity, so come prepared!
Many complain that every new generation of voters that comes in each year becomes more and more misinformed. Some fill in bubbles at random without any knowledge of who the candidates are. If you are going to vote in any election, do some research on the candidates, the purpose of the election, and which candidate will do best in the office they are running for. Make sure you know that what you write on the ballot is what you would really choose.
Offices on the ballot include U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, State Senator, House of Delegate members, and County Commissioners. Whoever wins the election for each office will move on to the general election. Remember to do research and find out information on all the candidates before you hand in your ballot.
For those who will be voting for the first time, choose well, and enjoy another step into adulthood.