KINGWOOD — Preston County sent out 5,025 absentee ballots and the county clerk has received 3,389 back.
Wednesday is the last day the Preston County Clerk’s office will be accepting absentee ballot requests. Preston County Clerk Linda Huggins said the last day to hand-deliver the ballots to her office is June 8. Ballots postmarked by Election Day — June 9 — will also be accepted.
“We have to have them before the canvassing starts on June 15,” Huggins said.
This year the state extended the reasons people can request absentee ballots to include not wanting to go to the polls because of the pandemic.
Huggins said voters who requested absentee ballots and don’t get them in on time can still vote at the polls. She said voters should bring the unused absentee ballot with them and give it to the poll worker who will destroy it in their presence.
Once the absentee ballot is destroyed the person will be allowed to vote.
“Anyone who doesn’t bring the unused absentee ballot with them will have to vote a provisional ballot,” Huggins said.
A provisional ballot is cast by a voter whose eligibility to vote cannot be proven at the polls. During the canvass the ballot will be reviewed and a decision made on whether to count it or not.
“I hope everyone that requested an absentee ballot will use it,” she said. “We spent a lot of money on the ballots and on preparing them. I realize people don’t know what goes into documenting and tracking these ballots.”
A link on the Secretary of State’s web page allows voters to track their absentee ballot at:
Huggins said voter registration is up by 719 voters over the 2018 general election. The total registered voters is currently 19,466, up from the 18,746 in the 2018 general election.
She said 5,313 are registered Democrat, 9,430 Republican and registered as other parties are 4,722.
“West Virginia recognizes the Mountain Party and Libertarian Party,” she said. “But they have to choose a nonpartisan ballot.”
Although the number of registered voters are up in Preston County, statewide they are down.
The West Virginia Secretary of State’s website says statewide there were 1,230,061 registered voters in the 2018 general election and 1,226,307 for 2020, a difference of 3,754 voters.
Early voting begins Wednesday and will be at the Kingwood Plaza. It will end June 6. Hours for early voting are 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Monday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday.