(The Center Square) – West Virginia polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday as early and absentee voting already has hit historically high numbers.
As of Saturday night, which was the last day for early voting, nearly 253,000 ballots were cast, with 111,700 from Republicans, 85,033 from Democrats and 56,043 from independents and members of third parties. Nearly 136,000 people have returned absentee ballots, with 34,028 from Republicans, 76,284 from Democrats and 25,657 from independents and third parties.
West Virginia will count absentee ballots that are received after Tuesday as long as they are postmarked on or before Tuesday and received by the start of canvassing Nov. 9. If a ballot is postmarked after Tuesday or not postmarked at all, it will not be counted if received after Election Day.
About 89% of absentee ballots already have been returned.
The state has directed federal COVID-19 relief money to provide polling locations with personal protective equipment and other supplies to ensure sanitization of the polling locations.
The West Virginia secretary of state’s office, which handles the elections, did not respond to requests for comment from The Center Square.
“Obviously, people will primarily vote according to their conscience and to see their desired vision for the country implemented,” Garrett Ballengee, the executive director of the free-market Cardinal Institute, told The Center Square.
“I think it's important to vote in a way that expands opportunity and enlarges the space within which individuals can author their own lives, whether that's in education, business or otherwise,” Ballengee said. “I think it's also important to realize that politics and elections aren't the only – or even primary – way to change a community, state or country. Volunteer, donate to your favorite charities, start a bowling league, it doesn't really matter, just be involved in your community, and try to [be a] positive force in someone's day. The sun will rise the day after the election and our country will be better off, regardless of the victors, if we all start seeing the inherent value and purpose in one another.”
Voters will vote statewide for the president, governor and other state executive positions, West Virginia supreme court and a U.S. Senate race.
Locally, voters will get to vote for a representative for U.S. House, state House, state Senate and local judges.