Vote Safely, Vote Early

Posted on 09/18/20


Vote Safely, Vote Early

West Virginia has several options for safer voting amid the pandemic, including early in-
person voting for all residents and absentee balloting that allows sheltering from COVID-19 as a valid excuse.

Thanks to a “safer at home” order from Gov. Jim Justice (R), all West Virginians concerned about coronavirus exposure may choose “illness, injury or other medical reason which keeps me confined” on their absentee ballot application.

Early in-person voting is also available to all registered voters from Wednesday, Oct. 21, to Saturday, Oct. 31.

If you choose to vote in person on Election Day, there will be added safety precautions in place, such as hand sanitizer and social distancing measures.

The coronavirus has been an isolating crisis, forcing people to work from home and be apart from friends and family. Increased broadband access is a top issue in this election for AARP West Virginia.

Social isolation has “always been an issue in West Virginia. The pandemic has put a spotlight on the need to make sure we have reliable and affordable internet access,” said Gaylene Miller, AARP West Virginia’s state director.

The Mountain State ranks near the very bottom of states—44th out of 50—when it comes to high-speed internet access. That has made it harder for West Virginians to weather the pandemic. Not only does broadband make it easier to connect with loved ones, but it’s critical infrastructure for telemedicine.

AARP West Virginia is pressing candidates running for state and local offices to do more to bring high-speed internet to residents.

AARP West Virginia is also asking candidates to address nursing home oversight, the high cost of prescription drugs, and retirement security.

This year, West Virginia passed a law allowing people with physical disabilities who cannot get to the polls and who cannot vote by paper ballot without assistance to vote with an electronic absentee ballot.

To vote with a paper absentee ballot, an excuse is required; acceptable reasons, in addition to concerns about the coronavirus, are listed on the website The county clerk must receive completed applications by Oct. 28.  —Susan Milligan

How to Vote in West Virginia's 2020 General Election Guide: WV AARP's Voter's Guide

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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