WV Voter Registration Deadline is Oct 13, 21 days before election day Nov 3, 2020.
Stage 1 -- Excuse required to vote by mail.
Online registration available.
Ben Salango for Governor
• West Virginia: A federal district court has struck down a law that gives the party that won the most recent presidential election in West Virginia the top spot on the ballot, which since 2000 has favored Republicans, agreeing with the Democratic plaintiffs that it unfairly advantaged the top-listed party in violation of the First and 14th Amendments. Academic researchers have found that ballot order can aid the candidates listed first, though its effect is generally more pronounced further down the ticket in races where voters have less information about the candidates.
Republicans quickly filed an appeal with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the district court refused to stay its ruling while that appeal is pending.
• West Virginia: Alex Thomas of MetroNews reports that Republican Secretary of State Mac Warner will not send absentee ballot applications to all voters for the November general election, as he did for West Virginia's June primary. Last month, Warner had appeared to rule out mailing applications.
West Virginia: In a Wednesday press conference, Republican Gov. Jim Justice said, "From the standpoint of absentee, I think what we’re going to do is go back to the way we were," but what he means by that is unclear. West Virginia made two significant changes to the way it conducts elections primary before the state's June 9 primary: It allowed all voters to request absentee ballots due to the pandemic, and it sent applications to every voter. It's therefore possible that Justice could be referring to either or both of these practices.
In separate remarks before a U.S. Senate committee the same day, Republican Secretary of State Mac Warner said that "county clerks have asked that we return to voters initiating requests to vote absentee, consistent with state law." However, neither he nor Justice appeared to address whether they are considering a return to a strict excuse requirement in order to request an absentee ballot.
• West Virginia: Democratic members in both chambers of the heavily GOP legislature have urged Republican Gov. Jim Justice to make the June primary take place near-entirely via mail by sending every registered voter a ballot automatically and limiting in-person voting. West Virginia already implemented a plan to mail absentee ballot applications to all voters, but voters still have to return the application and have it processed by election workers before getting mailed a ballot, which universal mail voting would render unnecessary.
• West Virginia: Republican Secretary of State Mac Warner says all voters will be sent an absentee ballot application with a postage-paid return envelope ahead of West Virginia's May 12 presidential and downballot primaries. Previously, Warner effectively waived the state's requirement that voters provide an excuse to vote absentee by allowing all voters to cite the coronavirus as their reason.
• West Virginia: A federal district court has denied West Virginia's motion to dismiss a Democratic-backed lawsuit arguing that the way the state determines the ordering of how candidates appear on the ballot violates the U.S. Constitution.
State law requires that the party that won the most votes in the last presidential election in the state be listed first for all partisan offices. Because of the state's heavily Republican lean at the presidential level, that means the GOP gets listed first in all downballot races.
The plaintiffs argue that this system violates the First and 14th Amendments because candidates listed first can enjoy a boost in support that can prove decisive in a close election, particularly in downballot races where voters have much less information about the candidates than they do for the top of the ticket. Thanks to the court's ruling, plaintiffs will now have the chance to have their case decided on its merits.
• West Virginia: Republican Secretary of State Mac Warner GOP made an unexpected announcement late last month that West Virginia would not implement a bipartisan-backed change to let military, overseas, and disabled voters vote online by smartphone in the upcoming May primary, citing security concerns. Instead, those voters can print out paper ballots they can mail in. It's unclear if this change will be made for the general election, too.
• West Virginia: Republican Gov. Jim Justice has signed a new law that legislators unanimously passed to enable voters with certain disabilities to vote over the internet via smartphone app or their computer, an option that was already available for military and overseas voters. Lawmakers said they feared failing to enact such legislation would have left the state vulnerable to a lawsuit given that some voters are unable to cast a paper ballot without assistance.
However, election security advocates have warned that any type of internet-based voting is potentially vulnerable to hacking. Other states have adopted methods of voting accessible to people with disabilities that don't pose this same risk, such as certain voting machines that print a ballot and aren't connected to the internet or mobile polling places for mobility-impaired voters.