CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Registered voters in West Virginia have or will be receiving absentee ballot applications in the mail, allowing them the opportunity to apply to vote by mail in this year’s primary election.
County clerks and the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office have been working on sending 1.2 million application forms.
The primary election has been moved from May 12 to June 9 because of the coronavirus.
Deak Kersey, general counsel with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, said the application only applies to people who do not wish to vote at their polling precinct because of the health concerns.
“There is a full application that’s available if a voter, for example, is living with a physical disability and they are eligible to vote electronically,” he said. “They would have to fill out the regular, full absentee application form available form their county clerk upon request.”
Other applications can be downloaded from the Secretary of State’s Office’s website.
Kersey noted counties have noticed people not marking the coronavirus as a reason for requesting a ballot, but county clerks offices have reached out to voters on the issue.
“If not, nobody is going to be disenfranchised because they failed to check that box. The intent is implied by submitting the form itself,” he added.
Ballots will begin being sent to voters during the week of April 27. County clerk’s offices will accept absentee voter applications through June 3. In-person and early voting will still be offered.
Ballots have to be postmarked by June 9 to be counted.
Harrison County Clerk Susan Thomas says the important thing for voters to remember is to put their name and address on the form and if they are not affiliated to a party they need to mark if they want a Democrat or Republican ballot.
Thomas said the mail-in absentee ballots will not be tabulated until the polls are closed at 7:30 p.m. on election night.
“We can run them through the scanners but they cannot be tabulated until election day,” she said.
Thomas said there will have to be spaced cleared for the ballots once they start to arrive in the mail.
“In order to process all of the voluminous amounts we will have we will start doing that as soon as we can,” Thomas said. “I assure Harrison County voters we will make sure these ballots are secured in a secure place.”