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Early voting period draws to a close in West Virginia on Saturday

BUCKHANNON – The last day of early voting for the upcoming primary election is Saturday, May 7.

Upshur County Clerk Carol Smith said that as of the close of business Thursday, a total of 1,197 people had voted during the early voting period.

“It had been a very low turnout honestly,” Smith said. “I don’t know if it’s just because it’s a midterm election, but that’s the only thing I can think of.”

She said typically the first day of early voting is pretty busy, but they only saw 140 people this year.

“We’ve mailed out 119 absentee ballots, I think was the final number, and we have received back 94 of those,” Smith said. “Pre-COVID, that would have been several, but after COVID, I would assume that’s going to be more along the lines of what we’re going to continue to have.”

Before the pandemic, the county clerk’s office would see about 100 absentee ballots in a presidential election, but during other elections, 20-30 absentee ballots was more routine.

“[Saturday] is the last day for early voting, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday is the last day anyone can hand in an absentee ballot,” Smith said. “If they don’t hand it in, it must be postmarked by midnight on election night. If you’re not sure of what your precinct is, just give us a call and let us help you find the correct precinct.”

Smith also gave several tips about which ID to bring to the polls on election day Tuesday.

“If you have voted before, the driver’s license is the easiest thing to have, because everybody typically has a driver’s license or an identification card of some sort, and your voter registration card also works,” Smith said. “For someone who hasn’t voted before, you need to have an ID with your address that matches what’s on our records. So if you haven’t voted, then you want to make sure your ID matches and your ID is valid and current.”

Sample ballots can be found on the county’s website.

“Anyone who is registered as anything besides a Republican, Democrat, Mountain or Libertarian, can request a ballot of their choice,” Smith said of the primary. “We can’t offer it to them, but they can request it.”

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