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. 

Be Registered & Be Ready to Vote: WV Voter ID Law Now in Effect

Last month, Secretary of State Mac Warner launched a new voter ID education campaign to educate the public about West Virginia’s voter ID law, which went into effect on January 1, 2018.  The Secretary of State’s Office is working with a diverse group of stakeholders, including LWV-WV, to help get the word out to the public about these changes, and the various forms of photo and non-photo ID that will be accepted at the polls. 

Because West Virginia’s law is not as strict as voter ID laws passed in other states, most voters will likely have one of the acceptable forms of ID on the list. Acceptable forms of photo ID include driver’s licenses, passports, military and student IDs, and concealed carry permits. Several forms of non-photo IDs will also be accepted including Medicare and Medicaid cards, hunting and fishing licenses, bank and debit cards, utility bills, and health insurance cards.Voters who lack a valid form of ID could have a friend or poll worker vouch for them. (See the Secretary of State’s guide to the new law below for complete of acceptable IDs and exceptions to the voter ID requirement.)

The Secretary of State’s Election Division is also working with county clerks to provide free photo IDs to registered voters who otherwise do not have one of the many forms of identifying documents. 

With many important races on the ballot this year, it’s important to make sure you’re registered to vote and ready to vote. This means making sure you have your ID, informing yourself about the issues and candidates, and last but not least, getting yourself to the polls.

Also, please help spread the word and make sure people know about this new requirement. Every vote counts, and we don’t want potential voters to be turned away.

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Voter Information for November 2 Election

VOTER REGISTRATION – Deadline October 12

You must be 18 by November 2 and be a resident of the county. You may register at the Courthouse, drivers license office, public assistance office, agencies that serve people with disabilities, military recruiting offices, or on a special mail-in postcard. Bring Identification.

If you have moved, you may change your address at your new polling place, but you will vote a provisional ballot.

Continue reading Voter Information for November 2 Election