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Voter address changes submitted

February 25, 2001

Voter address changes submitted



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County, W.Va., election officials are being swamped with voter registration address changes due to the conversion of street and road addresses throughout the county, a county official said.

"It's a lot of extra work. We've had to pull a couple of extra deputy clerks over here to help out," said County Clerk John Small.

As part of an effort to make addresses easier to find by emergency personnel such as fire, police and ambulance, the county has been changing many road names and addresses. The conversion is nearing an end, but voter registration officials must deal with the official change of addresses.

Many voters changed their address when they voted. But thousands of others who didn't can send in their white or yellow voter receipt card to the Berkeley County Courthouse at 100 W. King St. They can also stop in at the courthouse, send a change of address card from the post office or send a signed written note of the new address.

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"We need something with their signature on it," Small said.

No matter how officials receive the notification, it takes about five minutes to process each one, said Bonnie Woodfall, deputy chief clerk.

"It's a lot of time and we have to do each one," Woodfall said. The county currently lists 39,262 registered voters. Not everyone in the county is involved because not everyone had their address changed.

Workers are about halfway through making the changes, she said.

Although the computer system in the clerk's office has caused significant trouble off and on the past two years, the voter computer system is working fine, Small said. Voter names and addresses are entered into the computer and are automatically sent to the Secretary of State's office in Charleston.

Voters will not be turned away at the polls if they don't change their address, Small said.

"We can't deny anyone their right to vote," he said. But it's simpler to do it now than to wait until election day, he said.

The next election scheduled in Berkeley County will be the primary election in May 2002.

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