How to Vote in West Virginia’s 2024 Elections

Posted on 01/25/24 by Emily Paulin, Grace Dickinson

En español

Important dates and election information

Key dates

  • Primary election: Tuesday, May 14
  • General election: Tuesday, Nov. 5

Voting at a glance

  • Absentee voting: Registered voters who are ill, disabled, or traveling or studying outside of their home counties or who meet other criteria can vote absentee.

Voting in West Virginia

What to know about recent changes

For the first time, electronic voting machines will be available in all 55 counties. Voters can use a touch screen to mark ballot choices, and the voting machine will print a completed ballot for voters to place in a scanner or ballot box. Headphones and a tactile keypad will be available for voters who require an audio ballot.

Voter registration

  • Online: Use the state’s online portal to register, update your registration, check your status or change your party affiliation. To submit your registration form online, you must include your driver’s license number or an approved ID card number along with the last four digits of your Social Security number. A list of acceptable IDs is available on the state elections website.
  • By mail or in person: Either complete the online registration form or a downloadable blank registration form, then print, sign and deliver it to your county clerk’s office by mail or in person. Registration forms are also available at your county clerk’s office, public libraries, colleges and universities, and senior community centers. You may also call the state elections office at 304-558-6000 (or toll-free at 866-767-8683) and ask to have a registration form mailed to you.
West Virginians Head To Polls To Vote In GOP Senate Primary
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

West Virginians who obtain or renew a driver’s license in person at the Department of Motor Vehicles will be automatically registered to vote unless they opt out

You must register by Tuesday, April 23, to vote in the primary election. West Virginia does not permit voters to register on Primary Election Day.

Primary voting and party affiliation

Voters registered with one of the state’s four recognized political parties (Democratic, Libertarian, Mountain or Republican) can either vote that party’s ballot or the nonpartisan ballot. Voters registered with another party or with no party can choose which recognized party’s ballot they'd like or vote a nonpartisan ballot.

If you want to change your party affiliation for the primary election, you must do so by Tuesday, April 23. You are not obligated to be affiliated with a party to vote in the general election.

Ways to vote

Requesting an absentee ballot

Registered voters who are ill, disabled, or traveling or studying outside of their home counties or who meet other criteria can vote absentee. Get an absentee ballot application:

  • Online: Download and print an application.
  • By phone: Call the state elections office at 304-558-6000 (or toll-free at 866-767-8683) to have an application mailed to you.

Submit your completed, handwritten application to your county clerk’s office by mail, email, fax or in person. Details for each county clerk can be found at the County Clerk Directory. Voters can submit an absentee ballot application for the primary election starting Monday, Jan. 1, 2024. Applications must be received by your county clerk’s office by Wednesday, May 8.

You must submit a new application to vote absentee for each election unless you qualify for the state’s Permanent Absentee Voter List, which is for those who have a permanent, physical disability or participate in the state’s Address Confidentiality Program.

Returning your absentee ballot

  • In person: Hand-delivered ballots must be returned to your county clerk’s office by the day before Election Day — that’s Monday, May 13, for the primary. Voters do not have to return their ballots in person, but no one may hand deliver more than two of them.
  • By mail: Completed ballots must be postmarked and mailed to your county clerk’s office by Election Day — that’s Tuesday, May 14, for the primary — and received by Monday, May 20, to be counted. Completed ballots without a postmark that are received by Wednesday, May 15, will also be accepted. Postage on the ballots is prepaid.

West Virginia does not allow drop boxes.

If you are a first-time voter, you must submit a copy of a valid ID for first-time voters with your completed ballot. Note that you must place the copy of your ID in the return envelope but not inside the secrecy envelope that contains your ballot.

Track your absentee ballot using West Virginia’s online tracking tool.

Voting in person before Election Day

All registered voters can vote at an early in-person voting location. The early voting period for the primary election starts on Wednesday, May 1, and ends on Saturday, May 11. Locations and hours for the primary election will be listed on the state election website in April. You can also check with your county clerk’s office.

Voting at the polls on Election Day

Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Find your polling place on the state elections website.

Identification requirements

Voters must present an acceptable form of ID, such as a driver’s license, U.S. passport, birth certificate, West Virginia hunting or fishing license, or voter registration card.

Exemptions are available to residents of state-run long-term care facilities, voters accompanied by an adult who has known them for at least six months, and voters who are known by a poll worker for at least six months. If you are a registered voter and cannot get an approved ID, you can apply for a free voter ID card at your county clerk’s office.

First-time voters who haven’t provided ID when registering to vote must provide a valid ID for first-time voters either at the polls or with their absentee ballots.

Voting with a disability

West Virginia allows voters with disabilities to receive certain types of assistance or accommodations when voting either in person or via absentee ballot. See the secretary of state’s Voters with Disabilities web page for full details.

More information about candidates and races

Key races:

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. Senate: one seat
  • U.S. House: two seats
  • Governor
  • Secretary of State
  • State Senate: 17 of 34 seats
  • State House: All 100 seats

Counties will publish sample ballots for the primary election in the newspaper between Thursday, April 18, and Wednesday, April 24. Primary sample ballots will also be available at before early voting begins.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Dec. 6, 2023, with information on how to vote in 2024.

Emily Paulin covers nursing homes, health care and federal and state policy for AARP. Her work has also appeared in Broadsheet, an Australian lifestyle publication.

Also of Interest

This story is provided by AARP West Virginia. Visit the AARP West Virginia page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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