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Clerk: Folded absentee ballots are acceptable

ELKINS — Responding to voter concerns, the Randolph County Clerk said absentee ballots can be folded to fit into return envelopes and the votes will still be counted in the state primary.

County Clerk Brenda Wiseman told The Inter-Mountain Thursday that should a voter have trouble fitting the ballot into the return envelope, it’s perfectly OK to fold the ballot.

“We had one call from a voter saying that he had a problem getting it into the envelope, and we told him to fold it and put it in there; it doesn’t matter if it’s folded,” Wiseman explained.

The Inter-Mountain has also heard from local voters this week complaining that the absentee ballot is too big to fit into the return envelope provided, and questioning whether folded ballots would be considered invalid.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all voters in West Virginia are eligible to vote absentee in the primary election. The West Virginia primary is set for June 9.

The absentee voting process is well underway in Randolph County, as residents have received cards in the mail giving them the option to receive absentee ballots.

“Everybody should’ve received a card in the mail giving them the option to fill it out to get an absentee ballot, but if they did not receive one of the cards, they can always call our office so we can send them the application that they can fill out,” Wiseman explained, noting that her office can use either the mail-in card or the paper application to process voter information.

Wiseman stated that once the office has received the card or application, it is then entered into the statewide voter registration system; once the information is entered, the ballot is then prepared, processed and sent to the voter via mail.

Noting that many voters registered as independent or non-partisan are not marking which absentee ballot they would like to receive, Wiseman stated that those filling out mail-in cards and applications should make sure to mark which ballot they want during the primary election.

“A lot of people are confused when they’re registered as an independent or non-partisan. They’re not marking which ballot they want, so we’re having to call them to ask which ballot they want because they’re not marking their selection on there,” she said.

“The last day we can receive the application back is June 3; the last day we’re going to mail (absentee ballots) out to people would be on June 4,” Wiseman said.

For questions, the Randolph County Clerk’s Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is available by phone at 304-636-0543.

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