Charleston, W.Va. – Friday, September 21 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.
According to state law, the absentee ballots can be sent out 46 days ahead of a general election. West Virginia law is more strict in this regard than federal law, which requires ballots be sent out 45 days ahead of the general election.
For any request for an absentee ballot received September 21 or later, a county clerk has 24 hours to send the ballot to the voter.
Election Day is November 6.
Sending absentee ballots so far ahead of Election Day ensures that these voters – deployed military, their families, and overseas citizens – have enough time to receive their ballot, mark it, and return it to their county clerk in time to be counted.
Military members and overseas voters covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) have several options of how to receive their ballot. These voters can request their ballot be emailed to them but they must print it out to mark it before either scanning and emailing it back, faxing it back, or mailing it back to their county clerk. These voters can also request that their ballot be mailed to them, which could take several weeks depending on where they are stationed.
“These voters are the men and women on the front lines defending our right to vote, and every effort needs to be made to make sure they have access to the ballot,” Secretary Tennant said. “It’s something I believe in as Secretary of State, and through initiatives like online ballot delivery we are making it easier for these voters to cast their ballot, no matter where in the world their duty may take them.”
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.
Early voting for the General Election begins October 24 and ends November 3.