Thanks to everyone who reached out to us in response to our email letting folks know they could request their absentee ballot online. As your probably know, all voters have the option of voting absentee due to concerns about COVID-19. This is the safest option because you can vote safely from home. However, despite our efforts to make the process consistent with the primary, for the general election registered voters won’t be mailed an absentee ballot application.
Unless something changes quickly, here are your options for requesting an absentee ballot.
1). Request a ballot online using the Secretary of State’s absentee ballot application portal. While this is a welcome option for those voters who are able to use it, we have a significant digital divide in our state. Also, several of you who who have the necessary technology reported being unable to use the portal due to errors or declined to use it for fear that your electronic signature will not match your hand-written signatures on file with your county clerk. If you are unable or uncomfortable using the portal you can do one of the following:
2). Call or email your county clerk and ask them to mail an application to you.
County clerks will begin mailing ballots to voters on September 18.
In addition to issues with the portal a number of you mentioned concerns about mailing ballots during a time when the postal system is under assault and mail may be delayed. As attacks on the USPS intensify in order to undermine November’s election, we MUST do everything in our power to protect and save the USPS.
We need the USPS. And now, the USPS needs us. Please call (928) 236-2402 and demand that Senators restore full services to the United States Postal Service.
In addition to demanding Senators fund the USPS and stop the slowdown of our mail, to avoid potential delays, we highly recommend requesting your mail-in ballot as soon as possible, and as soon as you receive it, to complete and mail it in, to allow ample time for delivery and receipt of your ballot, so that your vote can be counted.
The last day to request an absentee ballot is October 28, although in a letter to the Secretary of State, the General Counsel for the USPS recommended voters submit their request early enough to be received 15 days before the election (October 19). The letter also recommended voters mail their completed ballots a week before the state’s due date. In West Virginia, ballots must be postmarked on or before election day (Tuesday, November 3), and be received by the start of canvassing on Monday, November 9.
If you don’t want to use the mail to return your ballot, the deadline to hand deliver ballots to your county clerk is Monday, November 2. (Please note that no person may hand deliver more than two absentee ballots and any person hand delivering an absentee ballot is required to certify that he or she has not examined or altered the ballot(s).
If you request an absentee ballot you can still vote in-person, either early or on election day, just be sure to take the absentee ballot with you so that it can be “spoiled” by a poll worker.
Thanks, again, for reaching out with your questions and concerns, and doing your part to ensure that our democracy can function in this pandemic.
Please remember these important election dates and deadlines:
For more voting information visit GoVoteWV.com.
Wishing you all a safe election season,