The last day to register to vote and still be able to vote in West Virginia’s May Primary Election is April 22. Students who won’t be able to vote in their home county have a variety of remedies open to them.
The 2014 West Virginia Primary Election will take place on May 13. Primary elections decide which candidates will be on the ballot in the November General Election, and which candidates will be elected to non-partisan races (county Boards of Education) and political party executive committees.
Students who live away from home may opt to change their residency for the purposes of voting close to their dorm room or apartment. Thus, if a student will be in Shepherdstown during the May Primary, they will be able to vote at one of the Shepherdstown polling places, rather than having to drive home or request an absentee ballot.
Nikki Painter, chief deputy clerk in the Jefferson County Clerk’s office, advises students may visit their local county courthouse or download a voter registration form from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office (www.wvsos.com).
While the DMV does permit citizens to register to vote through their office, Painter advised there is a “significant delay” through those offices. This close to the deadline, she suggested going directly through the courthouse or secretary of state.
Students who wish to vote in their home county but who will be in Shepherdstown during the primary may opt to request an absentee ballot. Painter said the ballot must be requested through that county’s courthouse where the student is already registered or is registering. Applications for an absentee ballot can also be downloaded from the secretary of state’s office. Once the request is received, a ballot and instructions will be mailed to the student. The ballot is to be filled out and then mailed back to the county of origin.
If students wish to request an absentee ballot, they should do so as soon as possible. The completed ballot must be postmarked by May 13, primary day.
Voters who registered as Democrats will receive a ballot with Democratic candidates listed for United States Senate, House of Representatives, State Senate, State House, and various county offices. The highest vote-getter will advance to the general election in November and face the Republican chosen by Republican primary voters.
Independents must designate which ballot they wish to receive, Democratic, Republican, or Nonpartisan. The Nonpartisan ballot will only list candidates for Nonpartisan offices. Additionally, Independents may only vote for one party. They cannot request both ballots and then vote for some Democrats and some Republicans.