Voters across West Virginia will have the opportunity to cast a ballot early beginning Friday.
The early voting period in the special gubernatorial primary will continue until May 11. Voters can cast their ballot at their county courthouse or courthouse annex on weekdays and also April 30 and May 7.
“The day a voter casts a ballot, that is Election Day for them,” says Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant, the state’s chief elections officer. “Early voting is all about convenience and accessibility for the voter.”
Voters can also wait until May 14 to cast a ballot at their precinct. Polls will be open that day from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
During early voting, as well as voting on May 14, independent voters will be allowed to vote a Democrat or Republican ballot. The voter must request a ballot from a poll worker. A notice will be posted at each voting location advising independent voters of this option.
Since it was introduced in 2002, early voting has been very popular. During the 2010 general election, 108,212 people cast a ballot early. That accounted for about 20.5 percent of the total number of ballots cast in that election.
During the 2010 special senatorial primary in August of 2010, almost 22 percent of all ballots were cast during the early voting period.
The highest number of early votes cast was during the 2008 general election, when 153,096 people voted during the early voting period.
According to the Statewide Voter Registration System maintained by the Secretary of State’s Office, there will be about 650,582 eligible Democrat voters; about 350,618 eligible Republican voters; and about 214,954 eligible voters registered with no party affiliation or as a member of another political party.
There are about 1,170 people registered to vote with the Mountain Party, but that political party will hold a nominating convention to name its candidate for governor in the October special general election.
In total, there will be about 1,216,154 eligible voters in West Virginia for the special gubernatorial primary.
Voters who have questions about early voting locations can contact their county clerk’s office. A complete list of county clerk phone numbers and addresses can be found on the Secretary of State’s Website.