TALK TO YOUR LEGISLATORS!
On Monday, December 11, from 7 to 9 p.m. our League will host a Legislators Forum, co-sponsored by OLLI. It will be held at the Mountaineer Mall, in OLLI Classroom A. The forum is designed to let the legislators tell the public what their priorities and proposals are for the upcoming Legislative session, and for them to hear from you about your hopes, needs and concerns. In the past this forum has led to very fruitful discussions between the public and the legislators.
Two senators and five delegates from our area have been invited: Robert Beach, Roman Prezioso, Jr., Barbara Fleischauer, Cindy Frich, Rodney Pyles, Joe Statler, and John Williams.
The legislators will be given four minutes to discuss their interests in the upcoming session, and the public will then have the opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns. After the forum there will be coffee and cookies and time to talk individually with the legislators. Please plan to come!
EPA Announces Public Hearing on Repeal of the Clean Power Plan
The EPA will hold a public hearing on the proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan in Charleston, WV on Nov 28-29. The hearing will potentially be extended into Nov 30 if enough people register to speak at the meetings. This is the only public hearing that is planned, and it is being held in Charleston “the heart of coal country” to hear from those most impacted by the CPP and get their comments on the proposed Repeal Rule. Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator stated that he looked forward to hearing from all stakeholders.
Persons wishing to speak at the public hearing to be held by the EPA in Charleston on November 28-29 must be registered by Nov 16 and will be notified about time slots on Nov 17. Written comments are also being solicited and “will be given the same weight as oral comments” according to the EPA. Written comments must be submitted by Jan. 16. Comments should be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355 and may be submitted by one of the methods listed on the Clean Power Plan Proposed Repeal: How to Comment web page.
The LWV-US has issued the following statement. “By repealing the Clean Power Plan, the White House is putting the interests of corporate polluters ahead of the health and safety of the American public. This decision will have a devastating impact on the planet at a time when we are seeing the powerful climate change effects with rising temperatures, deadly hurricanes and destructive wildfires. The League is appalled at this irresponsible decision that will have a long-term devastating impact on our planet and health of the American people.” The LWVWV and local Leagues are encouraging individuals to attend the hearings in Charleston and/or to submit written comments.
October Membership Meeting
We were very lucky to have Mr. Donald “Deak” Kersey as our speaker for the Membership Meeting in October. He gave us a lot of good information about how voter rolls are maintained, including the fact that the Secretary of State’s office never removes people from the rolls. County Clerks are responsible for determining whether a person should be removed, and Mr. Kersey provided information on the various ways that determination is made. For example, they receive information from the US Postal Service about people who have moved, use two national databases to check for duplication of voters, and receive death notices. Mr. Kersey also gave us information about how WV protects our on-line voter data, including the fact that we have a highly trained cybersecurity professional who monitors our systems daily and who has a high-level security clearance which makes it possible for him to be in direct communication with the Department of Homeland Security when necessary. He also reassured us that no voting machines in WV are connected to the internet, so there is no opportunity for a person to hack into them to change votes or otherwise impact the recording and tallying of votes. He also told us that West Virginia is being presented nationally as an example of how systems should be maintained to insure election integrity. At the end of his presentation, Mr. Kersey briefly reviewed the new law about voter ID which goes into effect January 1, 2018. There is further discussion of voter ID in this newsletter.
The video filmed at our Membership Meeting, Election Integrity in WV with Elections Director Donald Kersey, is available at https://youtu.be/f05v4lIDyjc .
Elections & Voter ID – a Primer (from Wood County LWV)
Though no statewide elections are scheduled until the Primary next May, there is a change coming that merits attention. Starting January 1st, WV voters will be required to present some form of identification at the polls.
This change originated in 2016 in the House of Delegates as a strict photo ID law of the sort that has been the subject of much controversy over whether its purpose is actually to suppress voting by certain groups. The introduced bill was amended so that WV voters will have a long list of documents that will be considered a “valid identifying document.” The law takes effect January 1, 2018.
Voters need to know of the change and what they need to take to the polls. The Secretary of State plans a statewide education effort, which the law requires. To that end, the Secretary convened a meeting recently with representatives of a broad range of groups and constituencies represented, including representatives of the LWV of WV, to gather information about how best to inform voters of the change and assure that no one is denied their right to vote because of a lack of ID.
The Secretary’s staff plans to make materials such as posters available for wide distribution as well as encouraging civic groups and media to help inform voters. The staff includes field representatives in locations around the state who will be part of the educational efforts.
As League members, we will get asked about this change. My short answer has been, take your wallet with you when you vote and you will surely have one of these documents with you. This will work for most of us, but not everyone. There are people entitled to vote who have none of them, and there are options for them. See the next section for acceptable “valid identifying documents” and you will be ready to answer questions.
Valid Identifying Documents
A document with the voter’s name that was issued by the State of WV or its subsidiaries or the US Government, OR one of the following:
Must be valid (not expired) and have the voter’s name
Passport or passport card
A photo employee, student, or military ID or concealed carry permit
Medicare or Social Security card
Voter registration card
Hunting or fishing license
An ID card for SNAP or TANIF or Medicaid benefits
Health insurance card
Bank or debit card
Utility bill or bank statement (from within 6 months of election)
Residents of licensed care facilities are exempt from ID requirements. There is no change in absentee voting procedures.
There are two options for those with no ID, an affidavit from someone who knows and accompanies the voter and for someone known personally by the poll worker.
Registered voters will also be able to get a free photo “Voter ID” card through their county
clerk’s office with no further documentation than is required for being a registered voter. (A state issued photo ID is available through DMV, but requires more documentation.)
Homeless people may use the address of a shelter to register to vote.
Anyone who appears at the polls and is denied a ballot is entitled to cast a provisional ballot, the validity of which will be evaluated in the canvass following the election.
For the complete bill, see: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/ChapterEntire.cfm?chap=03&art=1§ion=34#01
We would like to invite people to the All Kinds Are Welcome Here Lobby Day, on February 8, 2018. LWV-WV is a co-sponsor for the event along with ACLU-WV, WV FREE, Fairness WV, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Rainbow Pride of WV, and WV Citizen Action Group (so far). Two of our members attended last year– let’s increase that number in 2018!