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Primary: Delaying election was the right decision

Gov. Jim Justice did the right thing — in consultation with legislators of both parties — to delay the primary election in West Virginia. It will be held June 9 instead of May 12, as had been scheduled previously.

Timelines presented by medical experts suggest West Virginia could be getting hit by the peak of COVID-19 cases at the beginning of May.

Even if by some miracle our state is out of the COVID-19 woods by mid-May, many voters will remain reluctant to gather at polling places. Among them will be the older people who traditionally are the most conscientious about voting.

For a time, Secretary of State Mac Warner had hoped to use the absentee ballot system to ensure every voter’s voice could be heard in the primary. His office should continue emphasizing use of the mechanism and making it as easy as possible for West Virginians to use.

Requirements for those wishing to use absentee ballots have been relaxed somewhat, in view of the COVID-19 emergency. If you are uncertain whether you qualify, check Warner’s website — sos.wv.gov.

As Warner put it last week, “everyone is in this together to make sure this election is run safely with the utmost concern for health.”

Even by June 9, some Mountain State residents may be leery of venturing into a crowd. Continuing to emphasize absentee voting will be an enormous service to all West Virginia voters.

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