Charleston, W.Va. – Absentee ballots for the upcoming special gubernatorial election are in the mail, on their way to deployed military and overseas citizens.
County Clerks across West Virginia were required to send out requested absentee ballots at least 46 days before the election. Federal law requires requested absentee ballots be sent to deployed military and overseas voters at least 45 days before an election – but West Virginia’s laws are more stringent.
The ballots must be sent out several weeks in advance for several reasons: to ensure the ballot gets to the voter, that the voter has time to mark his or her ballot, and that the ballot can be returned in time to be counted.
The last day a deployed military or overseas voter can request an absentee ballot is May 9. Overseas absentee ballots must be postmarked by May 14 and received by May 19 in order to be counted.
Voters under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) also have the option to request an electronically transmitted ballot which they can print themselves, vote, and then mail back.
“We have to make sure that our military men and women have the opportunity to vote, no matter where in the world they might be deployed,” Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said. “They are out there defending our right to vote, so we here at home have to make sure it is as convenient as possible for them to exercise that right. And it’s not just our military. There are West Virginians everywhere in the world who are eligible to vote. We have to protect their right to vote as well.”
Election Day for the 2011 Special Gubernatorial Primary is May 14.
On the Secretary of State’s website overseas voters can find information about how to register to vote and how to request a ballot from their county clerk’s office. That information can be found here.