BUCKHANNON — West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner is encouraging all West Virginians to participate in early absentee voting for the May primary election, in response to the declaration of a State Emergency. There is a statewide initiative underway called “Go Vote WV” to encourage absentee voting, due to the potential spread of COVID-19 at the poling locations.
Upshur County Clerk Carol Smith explained they are working with the Secretary of State’s office and came to the decision to send absentee ballot applications via postcard to every registered voter in West Virginia. The goal is to have them mailed out by April 6. Smith explained they will try to avoid sending applications out again to those who have already returned theirs, hopefully cutting costs and time.
The encouragement for absentee voting is to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as it will be too difficult to manage crowds and keep everyone safe, especially the poll workers. Smith mentioned election day is going to look a little different this year, given the circumstances.
The continuation of mailing applications in is encouraged to make this process smoother, as it gives the County Clerk’s office time to process the applications little by little, rather than a thousand a day.
In order to vote via absentee ballot, you must apply for an absentee ballot, then forward it to the County Clerk’s office at 40 West Main Street or fax to (304) 472-1029 or (304) 472-9406, or email it to [email protected] The County Clerk’s office will then send the absentee ballot in the mail; the ballot will be a Republican, Democrat or Non-Partisan ballot. Voters will fill the ballot out and send it back to the County Clerk in the postage paid envelope that will be provided. The ballots must be postmarked by May 12 on Election Day, or if returning in person, before May 11.
Note: Voters should make sure and check the first box for “Illness, injury or other medical reason which keeps me confined” in section 4 of the application.
The process of counting the votes is completely anonymous and the rooms are completely sealed, Smith assured.
In order to keep your state and community safe, please consider early absentee voting.