Charleston, W.Va. – Several municipalities in West Virginia have already held their elections, but voters in more than 100 towns and cities across the state will go to the polls on Tuesday, June 14.
Four municipalities are taking part in a pilot program that was passed by the legislature in 2009 that allows them to conduct their early voting by mail.
Three municipalities – Bethany, Harrisville, and West Hamlin – are currently conducting their early voting by mail. The early voting for the municipal election in Paw Paw, which was held on June 7, was also conducted by mail.
Another phase of this pilot project allowed Morgantown to conduct their entire municipal election by mail in April. Morgantown’s voter turnout in 2011 more than doubled the turnout seen in 2009, when voters had to go to polling places to cast their ballot.
For a voter in one of those three towns to receive a ballot in the mail, they must contact the town’s recorder or clerk and request a ballot. The ballot would then be sent to the address on their voter registration. Returning the ballot by mail is similar to absentee voting – signing the envelope holding the ballot, and then placing that envelope into another one to ensure privacy.
“We’ve seen vote-by-mail work very well for Morgantown, and it can have the same success in these smaller towns,” Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant, the state’s chief elections officer, said. “Vote by mail allows the voter to receive their ballot in the mail, and vote it when it is most convenient for them. Then they can mail the voted ballot back, or if they wish they can hand deliver it to town hall.”
Vote By Mail, while new in West Virginia, has been successful in other states. Oregon conducts its entire statewide election by mail, and several counties in Washington state conduct their elections by mail.
A complete list of municipalities and when their elections are scheduled to be held can be found on the Elections Division section of the Secretary of State’s website at www.wvsos.com.