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Opinion: Now more than ever, every vote counts in the primary election

By Jane Marks

AARP WV State President

The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyday life for all of us, but there is one staple of American life that won’t be affected in this most unusual time in our lives. It is one of the most important rights that we as Americans have: Voting. However you choose to cast your ballot, it’s critically important that you be part of the electoral process this year.

In-person voting has historically been the most common way to cast your ballot, but in this pandemic situation most states are offering an alternative method for people who can’t make it to the polls on Election Day. In West Virginia, there are three easy methods you can choose to cast your ballots in the upcoming June 9 Primary Election.

Voters who do not wish to vote in person due to the coronavirus situation are eligible to request an absentee ballot by mail. The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office worked closely with County Clerks to mail an absentee ballot application to every registered voters in West Virginia for the June 9 Primary Election. You can simply return the Absentee Ballot application postcard that you received by mail to your County Clerk, requesting an absentee ballot be sent to your home address. Once approved, the County Clerk will mail a postage prepaid absentee ballot with instructions and materials to the voter.

If you didn’t receive a postcard mailing and wish to vote absentee, you should contact your County Clerk and request an absentee ballot application be mailed to your home address. Your County Clerk must receive your absentee ballot application by June 3, and absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, June 9, 2020.

Your second option to cast your ballot in the June 9 primary is to take advantage of the Early Voting period. Early voting started May 27 in West Virginia, which is one of 39 states – and the District of Columbia – that offer early voting prior to the election date. Early voting is available at your County Clerks offices, and you may contact them with any questions.

The third option is the traditional option of going in-person to your local precinct or voting location on Tuesday, June 9 – Primary Election Day – to cast your ballot. Polls will be open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. statewide. For a complete guide to voter information, list of Early Voting and poll locations, and online voting tools, visit the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website at govotewv.com.

AARP has a 34 year-long history of providing members and the public information about candidate positions to choose a candidate who best represents their views on the issues. We do not endorse candidates or make contributions to political parties, political campaigns or candidates. Our goal is a very simple one: to make sure that every voter has an opportunity to cast their vote for the candidate they choose. In the 2020 Election cycle, AARP will again work to ensure that voters know where candidates stand on the issues that matter most to older voters and their families.

On behalf of our state and nation’s largest and most active voting bloc – the 50+ voter – I urge everyone to safely participate in the political process and have your voice and your vote counted in this election season.

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