BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Clerk’s office is still encouraging residents to utilize absentee and absentee-by-mail ballots to vote even though the date of the primary has been postponed until June 9.
During the Thursday, April 2 Upshur County Commission meeting, commissioner Sam Nolte asked County Clerk Carol Smith if her office had received any new information in regard to the election.
Smith said the postcards her office has been working on, which ask voters if they would like an absentee ballot, are on track to be mailed out soon. She also said they expect to be able to program the voting machines and have them ready on time.
The SOS website says postcards being mailed asking voters whether they’d like to receive an absentee-by-mail ballot is a measure intended to make sure “every eligible voter has an opportunity to vote while protecting the health of voters, county clerks’ staff members, election workers, and the general public, while maximizing participation in the June 9 Primary Election.”
Any voter who doesn’t want to vote in person due to potential exposure to COVID-19 is eligible to request an absentee-by-mail ballot. However, the SOS notes voters who wish to may still vote in-person during the early voting period, which is now May 27 to June 6 or on Election Day, June 9.
Smith said she wasn’t sure yet whether precincts would be consolidated.
“The big thing that will need to be decided is if we want to consolidate precincts,” Smith said. “Is it wise to do that? Am I going have enough for poll workers? All those questions are still a little up in the air, so we’ll just have to figure some of it out as it comes along.”
Nolte asked Smith if her office was still requesting that people to send in absentee ballot applications.
“Absolutely, yes,” she said. “I put a note out on Facebook yesterday, letting people know the election date has been changed and to please continue to send in absentee ballot applications.”
She said they plan to post another post on Facebook and put ads in the newspaper to remind people of the change.
“I wanted to wait until I knew for sure when we were going to get these postcards in the mail so people could understand when they would be coming,” Smith said. “The big thing here is that we have to stop actually mailing ballots, until April 24, so, we’ve already mailed out some and now we have to stop mailing ballots which is a little confusing for people.”
According to the website of W.Va. Secretary of State Mac Warner, the three steps to vote an absentee-by-mail ballot are:
- The voter submits an absentee ballot application to their county clerk. (Watch your mail for the COVID-19 card mailed by your County Clerk the first week of April).
- Once approved, the county clerk will mail a postage prepaid absentee ballot with instructions and materials to the voter.
- The voter marks the absentee ballot according to the instructions and places it in the mail to be postmarked by Election Day, June 9, 2020.
Below are the updated voting dates and deadlines that have been published by the Secretary of State’s Office:
- Now until June 3: Eligible voters may apply for a Primary Election absentee ballot
- April 24: County clerks to begin mailing absentee ballots to voters who have submitted absentee applications to county clerks.
- May 14-20: Sample ballots published in local newspapers throughout the state (publication dates will vary by county).
- May 19: Voter registration deadline
- May 27-June 6: Early voting in-person period
- June 2-8: Official list of candidates or sample ballot published in local newspapers throughout the state (publication dates will vary by county).
- June 3: Deadline to submit absentee-by-mail application (must be received by county clerk on this date).
- June 8: Deadline to hand-deliver absentee ballot to County Clerk’s office.
- June 9: Deadline to mail absentee ballot to county clerk (must be postmarked by this date).
- June 9: Primary Election Day
- June 10: Absentee ballots mailed without a postmark accepted (absentee ballots without a postmark cannot be counted if received by county clerk after this date)
- June 15: Start of canvass (absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day will be accepted if received by the start of canvass)
For more information about voting in the June 9 Primary Election in West Virginia, click here.