Charleston, W.Va. – Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said today county clerks can begin sending out requested absentee ballots for the 2011 special gubernatorial general election, ensuring deployed military and overseas citizens the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.
West Virginia state code requires the ballots be sent out 46 days before the election. This ensures the ballot reaches the voter, that the voter has 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.
West Virginia code is stricter in this regard than federal code, which requires ballots be sent to absentee voters 45 days before an election.
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.
“This tracking system is another service that gives voters the chance to see that they are taking part in a transparent and accessible election,” Secretary Tennant said.
The ballot will list five candidates for governor: Bill Maloney, Republican; Earl Ray Tomblin, Democrat; Bob Henry Baber, Mountain; Marla Ingels, Independent; Harry Bartram, American Third Position.
Three people have also submitted the necessary paperwork to be official write-in candidates: John R. “Rick” Bartlett of Kingwood, Phil Hudok of Huttonsville, and Donald Lee Underwood of Buffalo.
Other people wishing to run as an official write-in candidate have until August 23, 2011 to file the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office.
The deadline to register to vote in the special gubernatorial general election is September 13.
Early voting for the 2011 special gubernatorial general election begins on September 21. Voters can cast their ballot early at their courthouse or courthouse annex during regular business hours. Early voting will also be available on Saturday, September 24 and October 1.
October 1 is also the final day of early voting.
More information on the special gubernatorial election can be found here.