West Virginians will go to the polls to elect two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, state delegates, state senators, and in many places, new county and city officials. Plus, there are four proposed changes to the West Virginia Constitution. If voters approve them, the amendments will let churches incorporate and give more power to the state Legislature to modify property taxes, set education policy, and conduct impeachment trials without state court interference.
Here’s what you need to know about voter registration, polling places, key dates, vote by mail, the four constitutional amendments and the candidates listed by county
Who can vote?
To register to vote in West Virginia, you must:
- be a citizen of the United States
- live in West Virginia at the address on your application
- be 18 years old on the day of the election.
- not be serving a sentence (including probation or parole) for a felony, treason or election bribery (people convicted of misdemeanors are eligible to vote).
- not have been judged “mentally incompetent” in a court of law.
How do you check if you’re registered?
You can search for your voter registration information on the Secretary of State’s website by entering your name and date of birth.
The deadline to register to vote was Oct. 18, 2022. You can register online, by mail or in person. You will need a valid ID in order to vote; here’s a list of acceptable IDs. Note that first-time voters may be asked to provide additional identification with their current name and address.
How do you find your polling place?
You can search for your polling place on the Secretary of State’s website by entering your name and date of birth.
What are the key dates?
Deadline to register: Oct. 18, 2022
Early voting starts Oct. 26 and goes through Nov. 5. Here’s a list of early voting locations and times.
Election Day: Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Can you mail in a ballot?
Yes, but unlike in recent elections, you have to meet certain requirements before you’re allowed to vote absentee in West Virginia. Eligibility requires two basic criteria: (1) confinement or not being present in the county during in-person voting, and (2) a permitted reason/excuse.
What are the constitutional amendments on all ballots?
Amendment 1 – Impeachment trials
If approved by voters, this amendment would bar all state courts from interfering with impeachment trials conducted by the West Virginia Legislature.
Background: In 2018, a panel of five circuit judges ruled in a case that halted impeachment proceedings in the West Virginia Legislature against several state Supreme Court justices. Lawmakers who support the amendment have said it is necessary and the legislative branch needs this check on the power of the judicial branch. Opponents argue it would remove some of the existing checks and balances built into the system.
Amendment 2 – Property taxes
If approved by voters, this amendment would allow the state Legislature to adjust property taxes paid on business inventory; business machinery and equipment; and personal vehicles.
Background: Republicans in the Legislature have wanted for years to eliminate these taxes, which provide hundreds of millions of dollars each year for local services like schools, libraries and emergency services. There’s still no plan to replace the money that local governments get from this tax, although state senators passed a non-binding resolution saying they were “committed to … [replace] revenue in perpetuity that is above and beyond the personal property taxes to be eliminated.”
Almost all local governments have urged people to reject this amendment, which would replace a consistent source of annual funding with one that would be controlled by the state Legislature every year. Gov. Jim Justice has also campaigned against the amendment; he wants to reduce personal income taxes rather than property taxes.
Amendment 3 – Incorporation of churches
If approved by voters, churches would be allowed to incorporate in West Virginia, which is the only state in the nation that does not allow the practice in its constitution.
Background: This proposed amendment comes after a federal judge’s ruling in neighboring Virginia that prohibiting a church from incorporating violated its First Amendment rights. The language in the West Virginia Constitution comes from the Virginia Constitution.
Amendment 4 – Board of Education
If approved by voters, state lawmakers would have the final say over policies and rules created by the West Virginia Board of Education.
Background: The state Board of Education operates independently from the Legislature, with the board’s nine voting members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. The board sets policies about what students are taught in K-12 schools, teacher requirements, discipline policy and many other areas of school administration. Currently the board does not have to submit school policies and rules to lawmakers for approval. In 2017, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that legislative action that impedes school board policy would be unconstitutional. But this constitutional amendment would usurp that ruling.
You can read the full text of all four amendments here.
Read more frequently asked questions here.
Other West Virginia elected offices including governor, attorney general, secretary of state won’t be up for election until 2024. The U.S. Senate seat held by Joe Manchin will also be up in 2024; the state’s other U.S. Senate seat, held by Shelley Moore Capito, won’t be up until 2026.
Also note that West Virginia lawmakers completely re-drew the state’s legislative maps in 2021. Because of that, your U.S. congressional district, state delegate district and state senate district may have changed.