By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - While Mineral County voters should not expect to see many differences when they go to the polls Tuesday, the process of counting those ballots is expected to be an extra long one at the end of the day.
“We sent out 3,500 absentee ballots and 800 are still out,” county clerk Lauren Ellifritz said Monday, explaining that the process of counting those ballots will take an especially long time due to the exceptionally large number and an additional issue.
Normally, the ballots arrive in a white envelope inside an outer brown envelope, and election workers remove the outer envelope ahead of time, before the white envelope-encased ballot is placed in a secure ballot box to await tabulation on election night.
With Ellifritz’s husband on the Republican ballot for sheriff, however, she cannot touch any of the ballots and they will therefore be placed in the secure box still inside both envelopes.
When the ballot counting begins Tuesday evening, the workers will still have the task of removing the absentee ballot from each of the two envelopes. However, the outer envelopes must all be removed first, then the white inner envelopes removed separately in order to respect the voter’s privacy.
Workers must then tear the stubs off the ballot before it can be counted.
In addition to that, the county also has 491 early votes to be counted.
Once ready, the absentee and early ballots will be run through the vote-counting machine and tabulated in with the numbers from the appropriate precincts.
Any ballots cast on the iVotronic computers are also counted separately and added in to the totals at the end of the counting process.
The West Virginia primary election was originally scheduled for May 12, but was moved back to June 9 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and fears of spreading the virus.
The polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.