BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – With general elections two weeks away, the polls will be opening tomorrow for early voting.
Raleigh County has been finalizing details regarding how this window will work for voting. In terms of how general election voting will differ from June’s primaries, there’s really only one difference.
“In the primary, the state sent every registered voter an application for an absentee ballot,” said Raleigh County Chief Deputy Clerk Cecilia Chapman. “They could complete that if they wished. In the general election, you can still request an absentee ballot, but you have to so on your own. They’re not going to send you an application.”
An important notice for voters is that are unable to wear or bring political materials within 100 feet of polling locations. With masks being mandated for in-person voting, Chapman wouldn’t be surprised if a scenario arises where voters wear political masks, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
“That would be a violation of electioneering law,” Chapman said. “So we know that this is going to be an issue because those masks are very popular, and we are asking people to wear a mask. They just have to make sure they don’t wear that one to the polls to vote.”
It remains essential that all voters conform to mask and social distancing policies to minimize issues with in-person voting.
“We want everyone to be comfortable to go and vote,” Chapman said. “If they could just cooperate and wear that mask, this little paper mask, for just a few minutes while they’re in there voting. Give people room when you’re standing in line. Remember to keep that distance between you.”
There’s no way to predict what turnouts will look like once early voting begins, but the courthouse is hoping for a successful election season starting tomorrow.