Candidates for WV Secretary of State at odds over absentee ballot notices

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) Last Spring, all 1.2 million voters in the Mountain State were sent a postcard in the mail asking if they would like to vote in the state’s primary election by absentee ballot due to health concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

Secretary of State Mac Warner says people can now go online and apply for an absentee ballot or request one by phone or by mail. So, the postcards won’t be needed again for November.

“Statewide we had a million of these. A million cards went out that weren’t responded to, that people didn’t use. Why would we spend the postage for a million pieces of mail to go out when you can do it more efficiently, more effectively, faster,” said Secretary of State Mac Warner, R-West Virginia.

The Secretary of State’s website will soon have the online portal for people to request an absentee ballot electronically.

But a former Secretary of State, who is trying to get the job back, says 260,000 people voted by absentee in the June Primary and there were no problems. She wants the same procedure for November.

“The primary went well, and that’s what the voters are anticipating. We know that the voters embraced this absentee style. We know COVID is worse. So why not have it the same way with voters anticipating that they would receive the application,” said Natalie Tennant, D-Candidate for WV Secretary of State and a two-term veteran of that office.

Natalie Tennant says the new system will suppress voter turnout because people won’t be reminded by postcard they can vote absentee. Mac Warner says if someone forgets they can vote absentee, they can vote in person on Nov. 3, 2020.

“The first date people can request an absentee ballot for the November General Election, is Aug. 11, 2020, and they can do so by mail, with a phone call, or make the request online,” Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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