COVID-19 and Voting: You Are Now Eligible to Vote by Absentee Ballot

Click here for information from the Secretary of State on COVID-19-related voting and election information.

Update April 1:

West Virginia primary pushed back to June 9 due to COVID-19

Be Ready to Vote!
Information from West Virginia Citizens for Clean Elections

Here in West Virginia, many people are wondering how the COVID-19 crisis will impact the May 12 June 9 primary and judicial elections.

In order to ensure people can exercise their right to vote during this public health crisis, Secretary of State Mac Warner announced that he is using his emergency rule-making authority to expand access to absentee voting. This means anyone can cite health concerns as a reason for voting absentee. Voters can request absentee ballots now, and county clerks will start sending ballots to voters on March 27.

We encourage as many people as possible to avoid in-person voting and take advantage of this option, especially if you are at high risk of contracting the virus.

Update 4:30 p.m. March 26: All registered voters will be mailed an absentee ballot application for the May 12 June 9 primary. Repeat, if you are registered, you do not have to request the application. It is automatically being mailed to you.  

The Secretary of State says that voters can expect to receive an absentee ballot application sometime during the week of April 6. Voters who have already requested or submitted an absentee application to their county clerk will be excluded from the mailing to prevent confusion and duplication. However, there may be overlap in requests and mailings by clerks due to natural postal delays, so any voter who receives more than one absentee application may disregard additional application mailings.

To receive an absentee ballot, you must be registered to vote. Use this online tool to check your voter registration status. If you are not yet registered, register and request an absentee ballot. Details on how to do that are here and also here

How to Request and Send an Absentee Ballot:

1.Obtain the West Virginia Absentee Ballot Application:

If you don’t get the application in the mail by April 6, make sure you are registered to vote, then:

  1. Fill out the application in your own handwriting
  • Note: Make sure to check the first box for “Illness, injury or other medical reason which keeps me confined” in Section 4 of the application
  1. Return the application to your county clerk by
  • Mail; or
  • Email; or
  • Fax

Note: Your county clerk must receive your application for an absentee ballot by May 6. Voters may only apply and vote absentee in the county where they live. You can only receive this application if you are already registered to vote. To make sure your registration is up-to-date, click “Check Your Voter Registration Record” at The deadline to register to vote in the May 12 primary and judicial election is April 21.

To be counted, your completed absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day (May 12), or hand-delivered the day before the election (May 11).

Another way to to observe physical distancing precautions and help limit the number of people congregating at any one site at a given time is to early vote at a community voting location. Your county clerk can tell you where early voting takes place in your county.  Early voting takes place from April 29 to May 9.

Because West Virginia has time to plan ahead, hopefully the election can take place without the confusion and disruptions that proved to be barriers to voting in other states that held elections in March, right as the outbreak began to worsen.

You can help make sure we’re better prepared by contacting your county clerk and volunteering to serve as a poll worker, if you aren’t part of a more-at-risk group (or living with or caring for someone who is). To be prepared, we should anticipate changes in polling locations, as well as longer waits with the additional measures that need to take place to ensure sanitation. With more people voting absentee, we have to also expect it to take longer to get the election results.

One solution that would help ensure West Virginians are able to cast a ballot and protect their health in situations like this would be to adopt universal vote by mail. However, state elections officials say they don’t have the infrastructure or capacity to do this in advance of the primary.

The Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020 would give every American the ability to vote by mail, by providing states with the resources they need to make this happen and ensure fair elections while protecting public health and safety. Contact Senators Manchin and Capito and urge passage of the The Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020.

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