Early voting for January bond levy election set to begin Dec. 30; absentee ballot applications available Oct. 23

BUCKHANNON – Early voting for the Jan. 15, 2022, bond levy election will start Dec. 30, 2021, and conclude Jan. 12, 2022.

The election will determine whether Upshur County Schools will receive $49 million via bond issuances to help cover the cost of constructing a new comprehensive career and technical high school, as well as renovating the current Buckhannon-Upshur High School structure into a new, revamped middle school with pre-CTE offerings.

This week, Upshur County Clerk Carol Smith highlighted some important dates and information for county voters to keep in mind.

“We will be open on Saturday, Jan. 1 and Saturday, Jan. 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those will be the two early voting Saturdays,” Smith said. “Those will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rest of early voting will operate under regular courthouse hours.”

The Upshur County Courthouse and Courthouse Annex are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday except for holidays.

Absentee ballots will be available by requesting an application through the county clerk’s office or by visiting the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Elections Division website at wvsos.com. Smith said absentee ballots aren’t being issued simply due to COVID-19 as they were during the June 2020 Primary Election and the November 2020 General Election.

“We will follow the rules that we’ve always followed, which means you have to request the absentee ballot, and there are specific reasons that you can request an absentee ballot: travel or a physical or mobility issue where you can’t vote in person on election day,” Smith said. “We will start accepting absentee ballot applications Oct. 23.”

The Upshur County Commission recently approved relocating Precinct 9 from the Upshur County Courthouse Annex to a new location at Buckhannon City Hall, and Smith explained why.

“The courthouse annex had always been used as a voting location, and because of the new security equipment and X-ray machines, there’s isn’t enough room to have an election anywhere over there, so that’s why we had to move to city hall,” Smith said. “There are about 568 voters in that district, which makes up West Lincoln Street, Franklin Street, Madison, South Kanawha and Spring Street – basically the downtown area.”

The election will be conducted electronically on the ExpressVote voting machines, rather than on paper ballots.

“The board asked to do it electronically, as opposed to strictly paper, so when you come in, you’ll be using the Express machines, and they will be a tabulated on the DS200 machines, just like they are during a regular election,” Smith said.

Smith said 17-year-olds who will turn 18 before the General Election in November 2022 are eligible to register to vote for the 2022 General Election but cannot vote during the January bond election.

“Anyone who will be 18 before the General Election of 2022 is eligible to register to vote as long as you’re 17,” Smith said. “We will have kids who are registered to vote, who will not be able eligible to vote because they won’t be 18 on Election Day (Jan. 15, 2022) for this January election.”

The school bond only requires a majority plus one to pass, as opposed to the last bond election in 2011 when a 60 percent majority plus one was required, Smith said. The Upshur County Clerk’s office is always looking for registered voters who are interested in becoming poll workers to help out on Election Day.

You can read more about the bond levy election on My Buckhannon here or view information about it on Upshur County Schools’ website here. For more detailed information about registering to vote or updating your registration, check out the Secretary of State’s website.

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