Early voting begins Oct. 21
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Early voting for the Nov. 3 general election begins on Wednesday, Oct. 21, and will continue until Saturday, Oct. 31.
Mineral County clerk Lauren Ellifritz expects “probably close to 2,000” will show up to vote in that time frame.
Early voting will be located in the commission room at the courthouse, and polls will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 24 and 31, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ellifritz told the News Tribune Friday that her office has processed 1,237 absentee ballot applications and have already received 600 completed ballots.
Voters still have until Oct. 28 to request one.
Absentee ballots will be counted as long as they are returned to the clerk’s office or postmarked no later than Election Day.
Securing enough poll workers to man the county’s 26 polling places is always a challenge, and that task has been especially difficult under the ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
“I need 130 poll workers, and I have 113,” she said Tuesday, noting that the 130 is necessary in order to have five poll workers at each site.
An ideal situation would be to have seven at each poll, she said.
“Every precinct will be open,” she added, explaining however that the poll normally located at the Short Gap Fire Hall will now be at Wesley Chapel.
Anyone interested in signing up to work one of the polls may call the clerk’s office at 304-788-3924. Training is provided and poll workers are paid for their time.
Ellifritz noted that voters and poll workers alike will be required to wear masks and she asks that voters be patient as long lines are expected due to social distancing and the large voter turnout that is predicted.
In addition, she reminds voters that campaign materials, including hats, t-shirts, buttons and face masks promoting a specific candidate or party, are not permitted in the polling places.
Polls will be open on Election Day, Nov. 3, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
For further information on the election, visit the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website at www.sps.wv.gov, or call the clerk’s office at 304-788-3924.