Approximately 3k people apply for absentee ballots in Upshur County

BUCKHANNON – The deadline to submit an absentee-by-mail application for the June 9, 2020 West Virginia Primary Election is June 3.

Once the voter receives her or his ballot, she or he marks the absentee ballot according to the instructions (anyone voting absentee-by-mail due to concerns about COVID-19 should mark the box for ‘illness’) and place it in the mail. Absentee-by-mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, June 9, 2020.

Upshur County Clerk Carol Smith said her office has entered 3,000 absentee ballots into the statewide voter registration system with about another 500 that need to be entered during the Thursday, April 30 Upshur County Commission meeting.

She clarified what happens when her office receives an absentee ballot application.

“The application requires the voter’s name, the voter’s birthdate, and the voter’s address, and they have to actually sign the application,” Smith said. “When we received the application, we actually go into the statewide voter registration system and we look up that voter, we verify that the signature matches, and we all know our signature changes, but there are usually enough similarities that you could tell if it’s a correct signature, so we verify the signature that way before we ever issue the ballot.”

If there is an issue with the signature and her office has enough time, they will reach out to the person and inform them their signature does not match and ask them to resign or they will do a provisional ballot.

She said they have 25 DS200s, which are the actual tabulators, and one will go to each precinct and they will keep four at the courthouse to process early voting, absentee and canvassing ballots.

“The ExpressVotes, which are actually what the people mark their ballots with and print their ballot cards with, we have 105 of those, I believe,” Smith said.

She said she’s had enough poll workers cancel that she will have to reorganize the poll workers she has.

“In precinct locations where we have multiple precincts, for example the middle school, I have two precincts that vote in the gym and I have two precincts that vote in the cafeteria,” Smith said. “The ExpressVotes are going to be programmed, so when people vote, they select either the precinct 40 ballot or the precinct 44 ballot. Of course, if you’re in precinct 40, you’ll have to go to the precinct 40 clerk, and if you are in precinct 44, you’ll have to go to the 44 clerk.”

Smith said actual locations of precincts won’t change; however, some precincts located at the same place may be consolidated. Examples are Buckhannon Academy Elementary School and Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School, both of which are typically home to more than one precinct.

“I’m not sure how many people are going to be allowed in the location at one time because that makes a difference, and at this point, it’s looking like it’s going to be fine, but by time the election rolls around, it may not be,” Smith said.

She also said sample ballots are available at under the county clerk tab for anyone who needs to know who will be listed on the ballot. You may also search for candidates by state, county, district and municipality on the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website.

“The sample ballots are for anyone who doesn’t know who’s on the ballot, especially for people that are nonpartisan or unaffiliated – those voters may request either the Republican or the Democratic ballot, and they might be not sure which one they want because they’re not even sure if whose on the ballot,” Smith said.

Click here for more information and important deadlines regarding the June 9, 2020 Primary Election.

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