West Virginia attorney general issues warning about absentee voter fraud

Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 4:59 PM EDT
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As voters prepare to vote absentee in West Virginia's June 9 primary election, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued an alert to voters on Thursday about signs to look out for of absentee voter fraud.

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner previously advised West Virginians that he sees an increased potential of election fraud due to the broad access to absentee ballots amid COVID-19.

Morrisey said their concerns largely relate to the ability of fraudsters to steal or manipulate absentee ballots now that more people will use a mail-in, absentee ballot due to social distancing measures.

“Fraud can occur in many ways during voting, especially when it comes to absentee ballots,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Our offices want voters to have the ability to recognize these red flags so they can be on the lookout for fraud and help preserve the integrity of our 2020 primary election.”

"The Secretary of State's Office is pleased with our partnership with the Attorney General and his team in an effort to deter election fraud. We want citizens to understand just what constitutes voter fraud especially as it relates to the use of absentee ballots," said Secretary Warner.

Applications for absentee ballots were mailed to every single eligible West Virginia voter by their county offices in recent weeks. According to Warner, each voter who submits an application for an absentee ballot should receive the ballot within a week to 10 days of submitting their application.

Otherwise, voters should contact their county clerk, because the delay could indicate that someone stole the ballot from a mailbox.

Fraudsters also may submit an absentee ballot application in the name of a recently deceased person and then steal the ballot from the mailbox upon delivery, Morrisey and Warner said.

They advise that other criminals may target senior voters at nursing homes, senior living facilities or apartment complexes.

The two worry that a fraduster may go door to door, find a way to bring up the senior’s absentee ballot and then say whatever the fraudster thinks it will take to convince the senior voter to vote how the fraudster wants.

So they're warning senior voters of any individuals offering to assist them with voting by physically marking their ballot for them.

In general, they recommend that no one should accept assistance in marking their absentee ballot unless they know and trust the person offering assistance.

Even then, they say the helper should mark the ballot in front of the voter and sign the affidavit on the absentee ballot envelope.

Information on West Virginia voting can be found at


Anyone who suspects potential voter fraud can contact the Secretary of State’s Election Fraud Hotline toll free at 1-877-FRAUD-WV.

Those with reports of price gouging, scams and consumer fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic should immediately contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at