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On April 28, 2022, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner joined AARP West Virginia for a live statewide TeleTown Hall conversation on voting procedures for the May 10 Primary Election. During the interactive event, Secretary Warner explained voting options and fielded questions from AARP members across the Mountain State. You can listen to the event in its entirety below:
Following is a guest column from the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office on the start of Early Voting leading up to the May 10, 2022 West Virginia Primary Election.
The overwhelming majority of West Virginia voters enjoy the opportunity to vote in person. Beginning Wednesday, April 27 and continuing through Saturday, May 7, West Virginia registered voters have the opportunity to vote in person early at their courthouse (or annex), and in several counties at an additional approved community voting location.
According to Secretary of State Mac Warner, the most efficient and secure way for voters to cast a ballot is in person at a polling location where trained poll workers guarantee every voter the right to vote a secret ballot without intimidation, undue influence, or uncertainty. Ballots cast in person remain under the care and custody of election officials throughout the entire voting period.
All 55 counties offer early voting, with several offering more than one location around the county during the 10-day period. Any registered voter may vote their ballot early at the county courthouse (or annex) or designated community voting location in the county. Early voting hours differ depending on each county’s normal business hours during the weekdays. Early voting is also available on the last two Saturdays before the May 10 Primary Election, between the hours of 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM in all counties.
West Virginia’s 2022 Primaries are semi-open, allowing for voters who are not affiliated with a recognized political party to participate in the party’s primary of their choosing. However, unaffiliated voters must ask the poll workers for the specific party’s ballot they desire to cast. Poll workers are instructed to refrain from prompting voters to request any specific party’s ballot.
History shows that West Virginians love the experience and security of voting in person. Our state’s option to vote early provides flexibility for voters who wish to avoid lines, crowds, or those who cannot participate on Election Day.
Warner said that recent data for absentee-voting figures suggest that the substantial shift in absentee-by-mail voting during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is returning to normal, expected mail-in participation for this election, and we might expect to have more than 90% of participating voters cast ballots in person. For certain voters in the military, overseas, or living with a physical disability, who cannot vote in person or independently, they are eligible to participate using electronic absentee ballot delivery and return technology.
To learn more about in-person and absentee voting guidance and options, view a list of early voting locations, or check your registration, visit the WV Secretary of State's secure elections website at www.GoVoteWV.com.
Warner advises that consistent with state and federal health officials’ directives, wearing a mask inside a polling location is not required. However, voters and poll workers who choose to voluntarily wear a mask while inside a polling location may certainly do so.