POINT PLEASANT — Tuesday was the first day voters could begin applying for an absentee ballot for the May 10 primary, according to Mason County Clerk Diana Cromley.
Voters who cannot make it to the polls during Early Voting or on Election Day may be eligible to vote an absentee ballot by mail. If a voter cannot make it to the polling place because of any of the following reasons, they may apply with Cromley’s office for an absentee ballot: Attending school. Traveling outside of the county for business or personal reasons. An injury, illness, physical disability, or advanced age prevents a voter from accessing their polling place. A voter is incarcerated or serving home confinement for a misdemeanor, and they are legally registered to vote. Work hours and distance from the county seat make voting in person impossible. A work assignment requires a voter to temporarily live outside of the county (four years or less). Service as an elected or appointed state or federal official requires a voter to temporarily live outside of the county.
If a voter is a member of uniformed services, a spouse or dependent thereof, or an overseas voter, they should visit the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website, specifically the section on Military and Overseas Voters to learn about their absentee voting opportunities.
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and West Virginia state law provide extended absentee voting opportunities to military and overseas voters. Voters covered by UOCAVA include members of uniformed services and merchant marines on active duty, along with their spouses and dependents, and United States citizens temporarily or permanently residing outside of the United States.
Cromley’s office will begin mailing ballots the 46th day before the election. Once a voter receives their absentee ballot, vote and return it as soon as possible. Unless a military or overseas voter, voters must mail their ballot or return it to the county clerk’s office – no person may deliver more than two voters’ absentee ballots.
Mailed ballots should be postmarked by Election Day and received by the start of canvass (five days after the election, excluding Sundays). Hand-delivered ballots must be received by the day before the election.
Also, there is the emergency absentee ballot that can be requested by a voter or a voter’s immediate family may also request a ballot for them. Voters may apply for an emergency absentee ballot starting the seventh day before an election up to noon Election Day. Two election officials will deliver the ballot.
Reasons a voter may qualify for an emergency absentee ballot include: Being in a hospital or other health care facility in their county on Election Day. In a nursing home in their county and have resided there less than 30 days (in this case, a staff member of the nursing home may also request a ballot for the voter). In a hospital or other health care facility in a surrounding county or within 30 miles of the county seat. A poll worker appointed to a precinct other than their own after the Early Voting period.
For more information on absentee ballots, contact Cromley’s office at 304-675-1997.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.