Absentee ballot applications to be mailed to all WVa voters

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia voters should receive an absentee ballot application sometime during the first week of April, the secretary of state’s office said.

Secretary of State Mac Warner announced Thursday he has issued guidance to help county clerks with mailing applications to every registered voter in the state. Warner’s office will reimburse county clerks for the cost of the mailings to reduce the burden on county budgets, the secretary of state’s office said in a news release.

“By sending an absentee application to all registered voters, it encourages voters to participate in the election in the safest manner possible without having to leave their house,” Warner said.

During the state of emergency declared by Gov. Jim Justice in response to the coronavirus pandemic, registered voters can use an absentee-by-mail ballot to vote in the May 12 primary, the release said.

To vote an absentee-by-mail ballot, the voter submits the application to the county clerk. The clerk then mails a ballot with instructions to the voter. The voter marks the ballot and mails it to be postmarked by May 12.

Applications will not be sent to voters who have already requested or submitted an absentee application. Applications must be received by the county clerk by May 6. April 21 is the last day to register to vote.