CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The plan now is to still let people vote in-person for the May 12primary, and to early vote in-person beginning April 29. But the Secretary of State will now mail a postcard to all 1.2 million registered voters in the state, asking them if they’d like an absentee ballot so they can just vote by mail.
“You send that back in and then the clerk will send a ballot to you, and you vote your ballot. And we are encouraging people to vote early, to get on with this process. There’s no reason to wait until Election Day,” said Secretary of State Mac Warner, (R) West Virginia.
“It will put more work on our office. But you know, we will handle it. We can handle it,” said Vera McCormick, Kanawha County Clerk.
The postcards asking you to vote by absentee will be mailed April 6th. And there are predictions up to half of the state may vote that way. Meanwhile, the Secretary of State’s office is recruiting upwards of 9,000 poll and elections workers to help.
“That’s a lot of paperwork to process. And that’s why we’re asking for help, both at the polls, and perhaps auxiliary workers in some of the county courthouses to help process these applications and the mail,” said Secretary of State Mac Warner, (R) West Virginia.
Secretary Warner says the efforts could cost a half-million dollars, which is already in his budget for emergencies. For people who still want to vote in-person early, or on election day there will be precautions.
“Gloves that people can put on when they go vote because it is touch screen. And then the hand sanitizer,” said Vera McCormick, Kanawha County Clerk.
Normally only five percent of voters cast absentee ballots.
“Absentee ballots take longer to count and because of the expected glut of them, the Secretary of State says we may not know results of the May primary for several days, or even a week after the last vote was cast,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.