USPS mailers with absentee voting guidelines cause confusion

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — With a pandemic underway more people are expected to vote by mail this election. A new United States Postal Service mailer is being delivered nationwide and encourages voters to ‘plan ahead.’

The mailer suggests requesting an absentee ballot at least 15 days before Election Day and mailing ballots at least seven days before November 3rd.

The Secretary of State in Colorado, where there’s an all-mail election, has sued the USPS over the mailers, saying the information is misleading.

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner and his challenger Natalie Tennant agree it’s not the best information.

“Don’t wait until the last minute, even though West Virginia law allows you to,” said Tennant.

“It is true but it’s not necessarily the best information, there’s no reason to wait 15 days before,” said Warner.

Instead, the important voting dates to remember for West Virginia are October 13th, the last day to register to vote.

October 28th, the last day to request an absentee ballot, and November 3rd, Election Day and the last day to send postmarked ballots.

Tennant, the former West Virginia Secretary of State says the absentee voting process is secure.

But she says current Secretary of State Mac Warner has placed a “roadblock” and “barrier” for West Virginians by not mailing out the applications for them, and instead establishing an online portal.

“Not everyone has good internet access and that’s what my point is, is that during the primaries he sent those applications to the voters and called it ‘a moral obligation because of COVID,’ well, now COVID is even worse and he doesn’t send it to them,” she said.

According to Warner, the clerks wanted it this way and the applications were sent out because of the stay-at-home order.

“The clerks asked us afterward to not send out the application, to come up with a better way, and the better way is that electronic portal,” he said.

You can call your local election clerk to request an absentee ballot and register to vote, or you can visit the online portal here.

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