Secretary of State Announces Launch of Absentee Process for 2020 General Election

Charleston Secretary of State Mac Warner announced Tuesday, voters who prefer to vote absentee in the 2020 General Election may now request an absentee ballot from their county clerk.

On Sept. 18, postage-prepaid absentee ballots will start going in the mail to voters whose applications are approved by their county clerks.  Voters can request an absentee ballot in many ways.   The quickest, most efficient, and most accurate option is online through the absentee ballot request portal at GoVoteWV.com. Online absentee applications go directly to county clerks and eliminate wait time, uncertainty, and errors stemming from increased absentee application volume or postal service disruptions and mistakes.    "Go online or call your county clerk to request an absentee ballot," Warner said in a press release.  "It really is that easy."   The online application portal allows voters to complete the absentee request form electronically on their computer, tablet, or smartphone and signing in their own handwriting using a touch screen or a computer mouse. Once submitted by the voter, the absentee application is sent to the respective county clerk within 24 hours. Just like the online voter registration portal, the absentee request portal requires voters to confirm their identity by providing the last four digits of their social security number, or an ID number issued by the DMV, such as a driver’s license.   Voters can track the status of their absentee ballot at any time at GoVoteWV.com.   “The new portal is fast, safe, secure, and the most efficient way for absentee voters to request a ballot for the General Election,” Warner said. “This electronic method speeds up the process for voters and county clerks and reduces the time for voters to get their absentee ballots. It also decreases opportunities for postal delays and human error.”    Registered voters who are not able to use the portal or print the application from the Secretary of State’s website may call or write their county clerk to request an application form by mail. A directory of county clerks is located online at GoVoteWV.com, or voters may call 304-558-6000 for assistance.   Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic State of Emergency, all voters confined to their home during the in-person voting period because of COVID-19 concerns may apply to vote absentee. The absentee application has been updated for the General Election, and voters should simply select the first option on the application, “Illness, injury or other medical reason which keeps me confined (includes concerns of COVID-19)” as their reason for voting absentee.   The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 28, and applications must be received by their county clerk by that date to be accepted. Online applications must also be submitted by Oct. 28 to be accepted. Warner encourages absentee voters to carefully review the instructions and return their completed applications and ballots to their county clerk as soon as possible.   In-person early voting will take place from Oct. 21 to 31. Election Day is from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 3.   Warner encourages all voters to check their registration and polling location ahead of the November election at GoVoteWV.com. The last day to register to vote or to update your current registration is Oct. 13.
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