Early Primary Voting Begins May 1

With Primary Election Day set for May 14 (always the second Tuesday of May in even years), in-person early voting will begin May 1 and run through Saturday, May 11. According to West Virginia code: “Beginning on the 13th day and continuing through the third day before the election, voters may vote an early ballot at the county courthouse, an annex or a designated community voting location during normal business hours; additionally, early voting must be conducted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on the last 2 Saturdays before the Primary Election.” Those Saturdays are May 4 and 11, which means Sunday May 5 is the only day voting is not permitted during the early-voting period.

The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office estimates that more than 30 percent of West Virginia voters cast ballots during early voting. Obtaining an absentee ballot in West Virginia is more complicated than in most states. You must apply for a ballot based on a number of criteria. Then, if a ballot is issued, the mere act of mailing it is further complicated by arcane rules. For example, if you know you’ll be traveling on business during the voting period, you can’t simply fill out the ballot at home and mail it from home. You literally have to mail it from outside your home district. Same for college students. You can’t get your ballot while home for spring break, then mail it over Easter. You have to pack the ballot in your bags and return to school to mail it. See the application here.

For the full calendar of election-related deadlines, see the Secretary of State’s election calendar here.