Published September 2008 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
Byrd's-Eye View By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd Voter Registration Deadline is Nearing Exercising our right to vote is perhaps the most fundamental responsibility we have as American citizens. An engaged electorate holds politicians and government officials accountable for addressing the needs of the people. It is the only means by which we can truly realize a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people," as described so eloquently by Abraham Lincoln in his famous Gettysburg Address. Millions of Americans have given their lives defending this sacred right.
The next leader of our country will face many extraordinary challenges - from fixing our broken economy to restoring America's leadership position in the world. In this great country of ours, it is up to you - the people - to decide who that leader will be. That is a great responsibility indeed! If you are an eligible West Virginia voter and have not registered, you will miss out on your chance to have a say in this critical matter.
Registering to vote is very simple. West Virginia has a toll-free hotline for voter information - (866) SOS-VOTE or (866) 767 - 8683. You can also find the West Virginia voter registration form and helpful information on eligibility online at http://www.wvsos. com/elections/voters/regjsternow.htm.
Once you have completed the registration form, mail it to your county clerk, whose address can be found at http://www.wvsos.com/ service/rosters/countyclerks.htm. In order to be eligible to vote in the upcoming election, you must register by October 14th, which is just a few weeks away.
If you are going to be out of the state during the election, or are unable to vote in person, you can easily request an absentee ballot, which can be mailed or faxed to your County or Municipal Clerk. You can obtain an absentee ballot request form at http:// www. wvsos.com/service/findforms.htm, or by calling (866) SOS-VOTE. You should receive the ballot in the mail in the following weeks. Be sure to return your completed ballot to the County or Municipal Clerk's office in time for them to receive it at least six days before the election.
Voting is essential to the success of democracy. The actions of the government affect your life and the lives of those around you. Make sure your voice is heard, and register to vote before October 14th. If you know of a family member, friend or neighbor who is not registered, please encourage them to do so. On Election Day - November 4th - regardless of which political party or candidate you support, let your voice be heard!
September 16, 2008