CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Tuesday is the first day people in West Virginia can request an absentee ballot after the state announced it will not go into an all mail-in election in November.
It was also to be the first day you could request an absentee ballot online, but it wasn’t ready yet and there were lots of frustrated people trying to request ballots.
When we asked the Secretary of State’s office about the website problems, we were told technicians were putting the final parts in place. The site should go live – in their words – “shortly.”
Additional details will be provided as they become available.
Everyone is eligible to request an absentee ballot, however, it may look a little different than the primary elections.
What’s changing is that you will not receive a notice to request an absentee ballot from your county clerk. Instead, registered voters must request it themselves.
The state has tried to make that simply by creating a web portal. There’s also the traditional method of calling or faxing a request with your local county clerk’s office directly.
“We’re not taking anything away. We’re adding extra means by which people can request that absentee ballot. You can print it off, and still sent it in the old fashion way if you want to. But, I would recommend if you’re going online you might as well just send it in digitally.”Secretary of State Mac Warner — R-West Virginia.
This comes after the state experienced some complications with mail in ballots during the primaries.
“We sent out 122,000 forms for them to send out their application. We heard nothing from over 60,000 and 14,000 were undeliverable,” said Vera McCormick, Kanawha County Clerk.
And the process was expensive.
Warner is also encouraging people to vote in person, saying safety protocols worked during the primary worked.
“We did not have one reported case of COVID-19 due to voting in person so I do want to encourage that is a safe, secure way of voting,” Warner said. “If you go to the grocery store, Lowe’s, or that sort of thing you should feel comfortable voting in person.”
The portal to request an absentee ballot had technical issues and plans to go live shortly. For more information, you can call your local county clerk. Absentee ballots will not be sent out until Sept. 18, 2020.