CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The West Virginia primary election is four weeks from today.
and County Clerks’ offices are being swamped with absentee ballots from people who are concerned about the health risks of in-person voting.
Kanawha County Clerck, Vera McCormick says, “We are going to have early-voting, seven different sites, and then every precinct will be open.”
It started with concerns about health risks to voters – and poll workers due to the pandemic.
the state changed the absentee vote process to allow people to request a mail-in ballot for “other medical reason” – COVID-19.
Once registered voters were told they could ask for an absentee ballot – the flood gates opened.
the Kanawha County Clerk’s Office has received more than 13,000 requests so far, a huge jump from previous years. McCormick tells 13 News Reporter Erin Noon, “We never do this many … The most maybe is 2,000.”
With the many possible ways to be able to vote this year, West Virginia Secretary of State says a big concern is voter fraud: because most people are more comfortable with in-person voting, and they’re unsure so many mail-ins are really a secure way to do it.
Mac Warner, the West Virginia Secretary of State says, “I want to have a clean election, I don’t want anyone taking advantage of this Coronavirus situation and the absentee process.”
He adds reporting suspicions or irregularities, no matter how small, will stop fraud and miscounted votes from the start.
“I need the eyes and ears of everybody in the state tuned in to what election fraud might be,” he says. “And reporting it when it does happen so we can squash it from the beginning.”
Back in the election offices – clerks and their staff are working hard to make sure your vote is counted.
“It takes a community to run an election … Especially this one.”VERA MCCORMICK, KANAWHA COUNTY CLERK
If you are suspicious about any form of voter fraud – you can contact the state’s hotline at (877) 372-8398