Many people wrongly believe that going to jail strips a person of their right to vote in West Virginia forever.
While it is true that West Virginia unjustly deprives people convicted of felonies the right to vote, that right is restored once their sentence is complete. Those convicted of misdemeanors do not lose their right to vote at all -- they may apply for an absentee ballot by mail or vote in person (if circumstances permit).
The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office has produced a brochure detailing the voting rights of system-involved people. The brochure covers a step-by-step process for re-registration.
The brochure is available at: https://sos.wv.gov/FormSearch/Elections/Voter/Felon%20Voting%20Rights.pdf
Millions of Americans are kept from accessing the ballot box each year because of a patchwork of confusing state laws that date back to the Jim Crow era. Some states like Kentucky bar those convicted of felonies from ever voting again. These laws disproportionately disenfranchise communities of color.
The confusion about and misapplication of these laws also leads to people mistakenly believing that they cannot vote even after completing their sentence.
Laws that strip citizens of their fundamental right to vote are unjust. ACLU of West Virginia believes that even those who are currently incarcerated must have a voice in how we shape our society because voting is a cornerstone to our democracy.