Officials prepare for early voting

ELKINS – The May 13 primary election is approaching and Randolph County officials are working to prepare the voting machines for this year’s races.

Randolph County Clerk Brenda Wiseman said the Ivotronic voting machines make the process easier for voters and those working at the voting stations because they are more efficient than written ballots; however, they require more preparation before the election.

“There’s definitely more of a process before voting begins,” Wiseman said. “We have 82 machines that are going to be used around the county. We have to clean each one individually, wipe them of all of the previous election data, upload the current election data and then calibrate the screens so they respond to the voters appropriately.”

Wiseman said that, in the 2012 elections, 2,744 out of the total 9,939 votes cast were done so during early voting.

Absentee voting will run through May 8, Wiseman said, noting that 11 absentee ballots have been sent out so far.

Wiseman said early voting offers many advantages.

“It’s very convenient,” she said. “It’s designed for those who may not be able to reach the polling location on Election Day. This gives voters an option to come and vote on their lunch break or on the weekend at their convenience.”

Early voting in Randolph County begins April 30 and runs until May 10, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays at the Randolph County Commission room in Elkins.

According to VoteSmart.org, in West Virginia voters may register at any time; however, to be eligible to vote in a specific election, they must register 21 days before that election. Potential voters may download a form online; however, it must be submitted in person or by mail.

It is also possible to register to vote in person at the office of the Secretary of State; by submitting a registration form at the county clerk’s office; at the Division of Motor Vehicles as part of the Motor Voter program; or at public assistance offices, agencies that serve people with disabilities, marriage license offices (at your county clerk’s office) or military recruiting offices.

Potential voters can also register by mail by requesting an application from the county clerk or secretary of state, or by downloading the mail-in application form and returning it completed to the county clerk’s office.

Contact Chad Clem by email at cclem@theintermountain.com.