CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office says every registered voter will receive an absentee ballot application next month, allowing them to vote in the May primary election.

The announcement Thursday came more than a week after Secretary of State Mac Warner and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said voters can use the coronavirus as an excuse for getting an absentee ballot.

The Secretary of State’s Office will assist county clerks with mailing costs.

The statewide mailing effort is to ensure voters can take part in the primary election while not jeopardizing the health of other voters and poll workers.

“By sending an absentee application to all registered voters, it encourages voters to participate in the election in the safest manner possible without having to leave their house,” Warner said in a press release. “Your ballot box is as close as your mailbox.”

Warner added voters will likely receive the absentee ballot applications during the week of April 6. County clerk’s offices must receive applications before May 6. Ballots must be postmarked by May 12, when the primary election is scheduled.

The final day to register to vote in the primary is April 21. The early-voting period goes from April 29 to May 9.