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WV Official: In-Person Voting Will Be Safe

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Almost 60,000 high school students in West Virginia have registered to vote in their first general election in November. (Adobe stock)
Almost 60,000 high school students in West Virginia have registered to vote in their first general election in November. (Adobe stock)
 By Diane Bernard, Public News Service - WV - Producer, Contact
September 22, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Today is National Voter Registration Day, and with a historic presidential election just weeks away, folks are being urged to sign up to vote or check the status of their registration to make sure they're still eligible.

Interest in the Trump-Biden race is high, but so is concern about in-person voting during the pandemic, according to West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner. He said the state had one of the safest primaries in the nation. Now he's assuring West Virginians that poll workers will have the necessary protections and training to make Election Day safe as well.

"Going to vote, the people there will be expecting the voters to follow CDC guidelines, so everybody should feel comfortable going to vote in person if they so choose," Warner said. "But if you have any concerns whatsoever over COVID-19, that's where everybody in the state is eligible to vote absentee."

To register to vote, check your status or request an absentee ballot, go online to GoVoteWV.com. The deadline to submit an absentee mail-in ballot is October 28.

Warner said signing up to vote is especially important to younger, first-time voters. He said more than 58,000 high school students in the state signed up to vote in their first general election in November through a special in-school program. But since the pandemic shut down schools, that strategy has shifted.

"We've continued that with those points of contact in schools, and we have some high school teachers who are engaged as well and encouraging through their government civic programs to encourage students to register," Warner said.

A recent poll found almost half of Americans think they'll have difficulty casting a ballot in the November 3 election. And 83% of registered voters say it really matters who wins the presidency, up from 74% in the 2016 presidential election.

Support for this reporting is provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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