Voter’s Guide 2020 General Election – Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, Commissioner of Agriculture and Attorney General

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Voter’s Guide 2020 General Election – Governor

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Voter’s Guide 2020 General Election – US House of Representatives

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Voter’s Guide 2020 General Election – US Senate

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Important Action Requests & Absentee Voting Information

Dear LWV-WV Members,

As you probably know, all West Virginia voters have the option of voting absentee due to concerns about COVID-19. This is the safest option because you can vote from home. However, despite our efforts to make the process consistent with the primary, for the general election registered voters in most counties won’t be mailed an absentee ballot application.

As things currently stand, 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, many voters in WV are not able to access it or are just not comfortable using it. Those voters can do one of the following:

2). Call or email your county clerk and ask them to mail an application to you; OR

3). Download and print an application and return it to your county clerk by mail or email.

At this point, only voters in Lincoln and Ohio counties will be mailed absentee ballot applications. But there’s still time for the Governor and Secretary of State to get this right and order election officials to mail absentee ballot applications to all eligible voters. With the threat of COVID-19 greater than it was in June, and at a time when USPS is under attack and mail delivery may be delayed, the Governor also could authorize the use of drop boxes to allow voters to hand deliver their ballots without putting themselves, county clerks and their staffs at risk.

That’s where you come in.

Demand Governor Jim Justice and Secretary of State Mac Warner to protect our health and our right to vote safely by taking action on these two issues:

  • Mailing Absentee Ballot Applications - A county by county decision on this issue does not guarantee the benefit of an application to every registered voter regardless of where they live and their ability to access or use the online portal. Absentee ballot applications should be sent to all registered voters as was done for the primary election. Contact the Governor and the Secretary of State and tell them that their constituents deserve to have the same chance to vote safely in November as they had in June.
  • Drop Boxes for Ballot Delivery – At the same time as elections officials are projecting—and seeing—an increase in the number of voters choosing to vote absentee, internal policy changes within the USPS have led to delays in mail delivery that may result in absentee ballots not being delivered on time. The Secretary of State’s office has determined that the use of drop boxes don’t comply with the allowable delivery methods for absentee ballots. However the Governor could issue an executive order authorizing the use of secure drop boxes. Voters shouldn’t have to rely on the USPS or go into the Court House during working hours to make sure their absentee ballot arrives on time.

Please contact the Governor and Secretary of State now to ensure that our democracy can function during this pandemic.

Governor Jim Justice - call (304) 558-2000 or email governor@wv.gov 

Secretary of State Mac Warner - call (304) 558-6000 or email mwarner@wvsos.gov

Want to do more? Contact your legislators and commissioners and ask them to advocate for their constituents on these issues and ensure we can safely vote by mail in November. 

Thanks for doing your part to defend our democracy and empower West Virginia voters. 

Sincerely, 

Julie

Julie Archer
Vice President

PS: Please remember these important election dates and deadlines:

  • September 18, 2020 - County clerks will begin mailing out Absentee Ballots.
  • October 13, 2020 - Voter Registration Deadline
  • October 21 – October 31, 2020 - Early Voting at the county courthouse, annex or designated community voting location during normal business hours and Saturdays 9AM to 5PM.
  • October 28, 2020 - Deadline for Absentee Ballot Requests. Absentee ballot applications received after October 28, even if postmarked, cannot be accepted by law. (Note: 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.)
  • November 2, 2020 - Deadline to hand-deliver Absentee Ballot to County Clerk’s office. Choose this option if you don’t want to use the mail to return your ballot. (Note: 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).)
  • November 3, 2020 - General Election Day
  • November 4, 2020 - Absentee Ballots mailed, but without a postmark accepted.
  • November 9, 2020 - (Canvass) – Absentee Ballot postmarked by Election Day accepted if received by start of Canvass.

For more voting information visit GoVoteWV.com.

Wood County Voter August 2020

Election Calendar

· Now – Oct. 28 Voters can apply for absentee ballots

· Sept. 18 Mailing absentee ballots to voters begins

· Oct. 8- 14 Sample ballot published during this period

· Oct. 13 Last day to register to vote

· Oct. 27-Nov. 2 Sample ballot published during this period

· Oct. 28 Absentee ballot requests must be in the County Clerk’s office by this date

· Nov. 2 Deadline to hand-deliver absentee ballot to Clerk’s office.

· Nov. 3 GENERAL ELECTION DAY

· Nov. 9 Canvass

pdf iconLWVWC Voter August 2020 pdf.pdf

WV Voters Can Request Absentee Ballots Starting August 11

West Virginians can request absentee ballots starting August 11 (Charleston Gazette-Mail, August 7, 2020)

On July 27, the Secretary of State’s office confirmed that voters will be able to cite COVID-19 as a medical excuse to vote absentee in the upcoming election. 

In a press release, Secretary of State Mac Warner said, “West Virginia voters should never have to choose between their health and their right to vote. Let me be very clear. Any voter concerned about their health and safety because of COVID-19 will have the option to vote by absentee ballot.”

We wholeheartedly agree, and this is a welcome announcement. Giving all West Virginia voters the option to safely vote by absentee ballot in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is just and right. However, at this point we don’t know if the necessary executive orders and funding will be in place to mail applications to registered voters, as was done in the primary election. The latter was crucial to enabling voters to take advantage of this option in the primary, and West Virginia voters embraced absentee voting in large numbers, with half of voters choosing to cast their ballots safely from home. 

LWV-WV is part of a coalition of voting rights advocates and community leaders calling on the governor, and state and local election officials to make the process consistent with the primary by mailing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters.  

Voters will be able to request absentee ballots for the November election through an online portal beginning August 11, and that this option can help reduce opportunities for human errors and increase efficiency in the request process. While this is a welcome option, it will not help many older West Virginians or those without internet access. Mailing ballot applications to voters will keep the process consistent with the primary and create less confusion for voters. Receiving ballot applications will also likely result in higher voter participation. All registered voters should be mailed an absentee ballot application, along with information about alternative ways to request an absentee ballot, as well as in-person voting options.

The threat of COVID-19 is greater today than it was in June when West Virginia voters proved that voting by mail works. Like the coronavirus, the need to provide safe options for voters hasn’t gone away. 

Press Release: League Urges Replication of the 2020 Primary Election Voting and Absentee Ballot Request Options

For Immediate Release: July 29, 2020

Contacts: Eli Baumwell, Policy Director, ACLU of WV, ebaumwell@acluwv.org

WV Groups, Community Leaders Call on Governor, Secretary of State and County Clerks to Replicate Primary Election Voting and Absentee Ballot Request Options

Absentee Ballot Applications Should Be Mailed to All Registered Voters

 

(Charleston, WV) – With less than 100 days before the General Election, a coalition of voting rights advocates and community leaders representing poor and impacted communities across West Virginia is calling on Governor Jim Justice and state and local election officials to provide further clarity to the state’s voters regarding their plans to ensure a safe, accessible, and secure election and to mailing absentee ballot applications to those voters as was done in the primary election.

In a letter to the Governor, Secretary of State Mac Warner, and Linda Higgins, the head of the WV Association of County Clerks, the groups said, “Giving all West Virginia voters the option to safely vote by absentee ballot in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is just and right,” but cited the mailing of applications to all registered voters as “crucial to enabling voters to take advantage of this option in the primary, with half of voters choosing to cast their ballots safely from home.”

The Secretary of State’s office confirmed Monday that voters will be able to cite COVID-19 as a medical excuse to vote absentee in the upcoming election. In a press release, Secretary Warner said, “West Virginia voters should never have to choose between their health and their right to vote. Let me be very clear. Any voter concerned about their health and safety because of COVID-19 will have the option to vote by absentee ballot.”

“Ensuring all voters can utilize the absentee process is a common-sense step,” said Eli Baumwell, Policy Director for the ACLU of WV. “Now we call on our elected officials to keep the same process they had during the primary by mailing absentee ballots. This will reduce confusion and encourage voter participation.”

Jean Evansmore, a Coordinating Committee Member with the WV Poor People’s Campaign, expressed anger saying, “We now have more COVID-19 cases and the Governor and Secretary of State are proposing they do less? Why would we accept that? It is voter suppression under the guise of voting ‘opportunities’.”

“We are continuing our efforts to get it done the way it was done in the primary,” Evansmore said. Those efforts include a letter writing campaign targeting the Governor and Secretary of State.

The letter from the groups acknowledged that voters will have an online option for requesting absentee ballots for the November election, but expressed concern that it would not help many older West Virginians or those without internet access.

Jonathan Rosenbaum, President of the League of Women Voters of WV said, “As an experienced software developer, one of the downsides of a new online portal put together on such short order is that it may have some unresolved bugs, some that may cause worse delivery issues, than the so called ‘issues related to the U.S. Mail service’ the Secretary of State’s office highlighted in their after action report.”

Rosenbaum said election officials needed to make the extra effort to inform voters that lacked computers, technical skills, the internet or transportation of alternatives for requesting a ballot.

“However, that takes us back to the obvious solution, which is to mail everyone absentee ballot applications,” he said.

The groups also criticized Governor Justice’s attacks on absentee voting, saying they “are a direct assault on voting rights.”

“We know that absentee voting increases participation and ensures that more Americans – including members of our military – have their voices heard. We also know that states with long established vote-by-mail programs run them smoothly and expand voter engagement in their states,” said Julie Archer, Coordinator for WV Citizens for Clean Elections. “We cannot allow the right to safely vote become a polarizing issue. We can protect West Virginia voters and protect the vote during this pandemic. And we must.”

Environmental justice organizations and organized labor joined the groups in their call to replicate the voting and absentee ballot request options that were used in the primary.

 

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New WV Vote by Mail Website sponsored by the League

https://www.votebymailwv.com/

July 2020 Morgantown-Monongalia Guide to Government Officials

CLICK HERE:

LWVMM Guide to Government Officials July 2020