CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner says about half of the total number of ballots that will be cast in Tuesday’s Primary Election Day have probably already come in as absentee ballots.
On Monday morning, Warner reported roughly 200,000 absentee ballots total were returned to county clerk offices in all 55 counties out of the 261,000 requested ballots, an historic number because of the absentee expansion in the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic’s effects would be visible at polling places on Tuesday.
Poll access, for example, was going to be limited.
“On Election Day, you could have the appearance of long lines because of social distancing and only a certain number of people can be inside the precinct in one time,” Secretary Warner said during an appearance on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“We don’t want people to be turned off by that. Realize that there are very few people inside and that line is probably going to move quickly.”
Election Day is a state holiday in West Virginia.
On Tuesday, polls will be open statewide from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
For those heading to the polls, Secretary Warner offered the following tips:
– Be prepared to be patient;
– Consider bringing a mask and marking utensil, like a stylus for touchscreens;
– Ensure your polling location has not changed and review your sample ballot;
– Bring identification;
– Watch for any suspicious activity.
Polling places were being sanitized on Monday.
“Precautions are being taken to make sure that the disinfection occurred and the environmental cleaning is ready for voting,” Secretary Warner said.
He advised voters to verify their polling places at govotewv.com since, in some cases, voting sites have been moved for any number of reasons or consolidated.
The website also offered access to sample ballots.
Registered independents were reminded that it was up to them to request a Democrat, Republican or Mountain State ballot to vote. Without such a request, independents would be issued ballots for only nonpartisan races, like the three races for the state Supreme Court.
Monday was the last day to personally return absentee ballots to county clerk offices.
Tuesday was the postmark deadline for the mailing of absentee ballots.
Voters with absentee ballots that had not yet been cast still had the option of voting in person on Tuesday by taking those ballots to their regular polling places.
“They bring that ballot in and that has to be spoiled and, if enough people do that, that’s going to slow down the process just a little bit,” Warner said. “I’m not expecting long lines but do have patience if you see something.”
Any voting problems, including possible election violations, can be reported to the Secretary of State’s Office at 877-FRAUD-WV.
Unofficial results were to be reported on Tuesday night, but Warner said the number of mailed absentee ballots could change some races.
Ballots postmarked on Tuesday, June 9 would not be counted until next week’s official canvasses.
“We’re all interested in speed, but the main focus is accuracy,” Warner said.
MetroNews coverage of the unofficial results of Decision 2020 was scheduled to start at 7:06 p.m. on the MetroNews Radio Network and at wvmetronews.com.
.@MacWarnerforWV talks to @HoppyKercheval about the elections taking place on Tuesday. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIRZCB pic.twitter.com/lcuAXyc2Fj
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) June 8, 2020