Charleston, W.Va. – Friday, March 23 is the deadline for county clerks to send previously requested absentee ballots to military and overseas voters, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said today.
Military and overseas voters have until May 2, 2012 to request an absentee ballot.
West Virginia state code requires the ballots be sent out 46 days before the election. West Virginia code is stricter in this regard than federal code, which requires ballots be sent to absentee voters 45 days before an election.
Sending absentee ballots so far ahead of Election Day ensures that absentee voters – especially deployed military, their families, and other overseas citizens – have time to mark his or her ballot, and that the ballot has the opportunity to make it back to the county clerk’s office in time to be counted.
Voters who request an absentee ballot can track the status of their ballot on the Secretary of State’s website. After entering their name and birthdate an absentee voter can see when their ballot request was received, when their ballot was sent, and when the voted ballot was received by their county clerk.
A new law passed this year in West Virginia allows voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) of 1986 to register to vote in the 20 days prior to an election. Other citizens not covered under this provision must register to vote by April 17, 2012 if they wish to vote in the May primary.
Secretary Tennant also wanted to remind some 17-year-olds that they are eligible to vote in the primary.
“If you are 17 at the time of the primary but will turn 18 by the time of the general election on November 6, you are eligible to vote in the primary,” Secretary Tennant said. “I urge all West Virginians, not just teenagers, to make sure they are registered to vote and know where their polling place is.”
Early voting for the primary election begins on April 25 and ends on May 5. Voters can cast their ballot at their county courthouse or courthouse annex during regular business hours. Early voting will also be available on Saturday, April 28 and May 5. May 5 is also the final day or early voting.