Voting: Officials must ensure a ‘clean’ election

Only about 18 percent of West Virginia’s registered voters have requested absentee ballots for the June 19 primary election. That tells us two things:

First, as usual, a substantial number of voters will skip the election. That is a shame.

But second, a significant percentage still plan to cast ballots in person, either during the early voting period at courthouses or in person at polling places on Election Day.

By coincidence, Secretary of State Mac Warner was in the Northern Panhandle last week, checking on personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for local polling places.

“This is going to be a clean election, both literally and figuratively,” he pledged.

For a number of reasons linked to COVID-19, that will be quite a challenge. We encourage county election coordinators to consider the possibility that polling places may be busier than anticipated and, if necessary, to seek supplemental resources from county commissions to handle such a turnout. The burden falls upon them to ensure that “clean” election this year — to make sure voters who want to vote in person feel comfortable doing so.

These are unusual times. It is tempting to think getting a primary election done in as close to normal a fashion as possible is not at the top of the priority list.

But, to the contrary, these times show us just how important good leadership at all levels is to everyone of us. It is essential this year’s primary goes off without a hitch.


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