Op-Ed: Early Voting Provides Extended Opportunity to Participate in Primary Election
Editor's Note: This is an op-ed piece from West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, published verbatim.
West Virginia is just a couple of weeks away from our May 8th Primary Election. This is an exciting time for nearly 1,000 candidates from all parties and from all over the state seeking to serve their friends and neighbors in elected offices.
As the state’s chief elections officer, I want to encourage every registered voter to participate in the upcoming Primary Election. My staff, our 55 county clerks, their employees, and more than 9,000 poll workers are prepared to offer every voter a safe and secure election process.
Voter registration for those wanting to participate in the May 8th Primary Election has closed. Of those citizens registered to vote, more than 13,700 will be high schools students who are eligible to vote for the very first time.
Elections are exciting times for the candidates and their supporters. And it is an important time for our municipalities, counties and state. Participating in the election of our representatives is a guarantee protected by the United States Constitution. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard officers have fought to protect our democracy and the bedrock principle of the right of every citizen to vote.
Every vote counts! Right here in West Virginia there are dozens of examples where an election is decided by just one vote. And over the years there have been hundreds of elections decided by less than ten votes. Your vote really is your voice – and I want to hear all of you in the upcoming election.
Early voting provides an extended opportunity for West Virginia’s registered voters to participate in our election process. Early voting begins on Wednesday, April 25th and lasts until May 5th.
Every county has at least one location designated for those wanting to vote early. Some counties are also offering satellite locations where you can vote. Call your county clerk to be sure.
Finally, despite our attempts to make sure that all elections are conducted with the highest level of integrity, there will be those who try to cheat. My staff and our clerks have worked very hard to prevent anyone from attempting to break the law. As you know, my legal team and our investigators have already prosecuted those who try to cheat and we will continue to do so.
So I want to encourage everyone that if you “See Something, Say Something!” We have a toll free number to report any wrongdoing as it relates to our elections. Please call 1-877-FRAUD-WV to report any activity that doesn’t seem right or that breaks the law.