Editor’s note: Please visit the websites of the W.Va. Secretary of State and Upshur County Clerk Carol Smith for more information on the 2020 Primary Election.
When is the 2020 Primary Election?
Due to the Coronavirus situation, the West Virginia 2020 Primary Election has been postponed until June 9, 2020.
How do I vote?
Voters may still cast a ballot in-person during the Early Voting period (May 27 – June 6) and on Election Day (June 9).
Additionally, due to Coronavirus concerns, all West Virginia registered voters are eligible to apply for and vote an absentee-by-mail ballot in the 2020 Primary Election.
To make sure you are ready to vote, visit GoVoteWV.com to confirm that your voter registration information is up to date. If you do not have internet access, contact your county clerk to check your registration. The last day to register to vote or update your voter registration for the 2020 Primary Election is May 19, 2020.
Do I have to apply for an absentee ballot?
Yes. By law, the first step in the absentee process is to submit an absentee ballot application. Here are a few ways to easily obtain an absentee application:
- Download the application online at GoVoteWV.com;
- Call your county clerk to request the application to be sent to you by mail, fax, or email;
- Pick up an application in person at your county clerk’s office.
You may also have received a postcard application in the mail from your county clerk.
You should always check to make sure your voter registration is up to date. You may verify your registration at GoVoteWV.com or by calling your county clerk.
What if I already sent in my application for the 2020 Primary Election?
You do not have to submit an additional application.
I received an application for someone who no longer lives at my address. Why did this happen? What should I do?
When voters move and do not update their registration or notify their county clerk, they remain registered in the county until voter-list maintenance processes remove that outdated registration. The process sometimes takes years because of the law, so you should write “return to sender” on the mailing, then drop it in a mailbox. When the county clerk receives returned mailings, he or she will know to send confirmation notices to those voters, which is a step required by state and federal law. Voters who do not respond to the notice, update their registration, or cast a ballot in two federal elections may be removed from the voter rolls under state law.
Do I need to show ID to vote absentee?
You will need to provide identification only if you are a first-time voter in West Virginia or a new county who has not shown proof of residency for voter registration purposes.
Under W. Va. Code §3-2-10, a first-time voter that has not shown ID at the time of registration must submit a copy of one of the following documents that shows your current name and address with your absentee ballot:
- Valid photo identification
- Utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- Any other official government document
If you have questions or do not have a copy of any of these documents, contact your county clerk as soon as possible.
I received my ballot, when should I return it?
Due to the increases in absentee ballots during the Coronavirus emergency, county clerks will need as much time as possible to process all the ballots in time for the election. Therefore, you should mail your ballot as soon as possible.
Deadlines to submit your absentee ballot are:
- Absentee-by-mail ballots must be postmarked by Election Day (June 9), and your county clerk must receive it by the start of canvass (June 15).
- If you or someone else hand-delivers your ballot, your county clerk must receive it by the day before the election (June 8). Remember, each voter may only deliver up to two absentee ballots.
- If your ballot is not postmarked, it must be received by your county clerk by the day after the Primary Election (June 10).
I sent my absentee ballot. How do I know if my county clerk received it?
You may track your ballot by going to GoVoteWV.com and clicking the “Track Your Absentee Ballot” button. If you have questions or concerns about your ballot, contact your county clerk.
How do I vote as a member of the uniformed services on active duty, their spouse or dependent, or a citizen residing overseas?
Uniformed service members on active duty inside or outside of the United States, their spouses and dependents, and citizens residing outside of the United States that consider West Virginia their last place of residence may vote by mail or electronically. Due to the current situation with COVID-19, mail may not be deliverable to certain countries. Uniformed and overseas voters are highly encouraged to participate through the electric absentee option. For more information, visit GoVoteWV.com, call or email your county clerk.
How do I vote absentee electronically as a qualified voter with a physical disability?
In 2020, the Legislature passed SB 94 which allows voters living with physical disabilities, who cannot get to the polls, and who cannot vote an absentee-by-mail ballot without assistance, the ability to vote an electronic absentee ballot.
If you are eligible to vote an electronic absentee ballot, you must submit the full-length Absentee Ballot Application to your county clerk and await the instructions provided at the email address listed on the application. To download the full-length application, visit GoVoteWV.com or call your county clerk to request an application to be sent by mail, fax, or email.
For more information on electronic absentee voting options, as well as instruction and tutorials, please visit GoVoteWV.com, contact your county clerk, or contact an advocate at Disability Rights of West Virginia.
May I assist a family member, friend, or neighbor with completing his or her absentee ballot and/or application?
You may only assist a voter in completing his or her absentee ballot and/or application if he or she requests your assistance due to a disability. If you aid someone in completing his or her absentee ballot and/or application, you must sign the affidavit printed on absentee ballot application and ballot materials.
May I deliver a family member, friend, or neighbor’s absentee ballot to the courthouse?
By law, an individual may deliver up to two absentee ballots to the courthouse. The deadline to deliver absentee ballots is the day before the election.
May I still vote in the 2020 Primary Election in person?
Yes, the polls will still be open for in-person voting during Early Voting and on Election Day; however, Early Voting locations and Election Day polling places could change between now and the election due to poll worker shortages and unavailability of polling locations due to Coronavirus concerns. Be sure to check GoVoteWV.com or contact your county clerk to make sure you know where to vote.
If you go in person to vote and your polling place appears closed, your county clerk will have posted a notice on or near the polling place door with directions to the new nearby location of your polling place.
I already mailed or delivered my voted absentee ballot – can I still vote in person?
No, you may only vote once in each election. Contact your county clerk to confirm your ballot was received. If it was not received, you may vote in person. If it was received, you may not cast another ballot by law.
I received my absentee ballot, but I have not sent it in yet – can I still vote in person?
Yes, just bring your absentee ballot with you to the polling place to give to your poll worker. The poll worker will then “spoil” your absentee ballot and allow you to vote at the voting booth.
If you forget your absentee ballot, you may still vote in person. However, your in-person vote will be by “provisional” ballot. The county clerk’s office will simply double-check the absentee ballots received in the office prior to canvass. If your absentee ballot was not received by the county clerk, the Board of Canvassers will count your in-person vote.
How will counties ensure the safety of voters and election workers at the polls during the Coronavirus emergency?
County clerks and commissions are preparing to have supplies on hand to sanitize surfaces, objects, voting machines, etc. at the polls. Social distancing best practices will be implemented at the polls during under the guidance and regulations issued by the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the WV Department of Health and Human Resources.
As the Coronavirus situation changes, the Secretary of State’s Office and county clerks will continue to properly implement safety protocols to protect voters, poll workers, election officials and the general public to ensure a safe and secure election, even during the State of Emergency.
How do I sign-up to be a poll worker?
There is a great need for those able to serve our state on Election Day. Please go to GoVoteWV.com and click the “Become a Poll Worker Button” to let your county clerk know you would like to work. Not only will you be doing a great service for the State of West Virginia and veteran poll workers who may not be willing to work due to the Coronavirus emergency if they are in an especially at-risk demographic, but you will also be paid for your service.
Will the results of the election be available on election night?
As always, unofficial results will be available on election night that will include early voting, Election Day and absentee ballots that are received by the close of the polls. Official results will be released upon certification of the election, which may take a little longer due to the increase in absentee ballots being returned by voters.
What is the Secretary of State doing to prevent election fraud?
The Secretary of State has partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to create an Election Crimes Taskforce, consisting of USAO, FBI, WVSP, WV SOS, and local prosecutors. The Secretary of State is also working very closely with the West Virginia Attorney General to detect and investigate election fraud.
What do I do if I need to report an election-related violation?
To report fraud or abuse contact us at 877-FRAUD-WV. For more information or to download the formal complaint form, visit the Investigations Unit website, which is at wvsos.gov in the “About Us” section.