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Impressive: Virus-free voting should be worth celebrating

Like so many other people throughout the world, many West Virginians no doubt wish someone would provide us with a foolproof formula for avoiding COVID-19 infection. Perhaps we should ask Mac Warner.

Warner has never held a public health post. He is not a doctor or a scientist. He is West Virginia secretary of state.

As the state’s chief election officer, Warner had something to brag about while he participated in the National Association of Secretaries of State conference, being held electronically this week. Warner and some staff members were scheduled to make presentations.

Much of the discussion involved the mechanics of holding elections. In that regard, this year was notable because of the deadly pandemic.

That forced election officials and many voters to alter normal election-year behavior. One change involved how ballots were cast.

Absentee voting by mail was permitted for nearly all registered voters. More than 210,000 took advantage.

Nearly 200,000 voters chose the old-fashioned method of going to polling places to cast ballots. More than 42,000 did so at courthouses, through the early voting system. More than 152,000 Mountain State voters decided to go to their local polling places on Election Day, which was June 9.

What an opportunity for COVID-19, which thrives on crowds!

But, according to Warner’s office, “not one case of COVID-19 has been attributed to voting in-person, either on election day or during the 10-day period of early voting prior to election day.” Not one.

Think about that. Somehow, thousands of men and women working the elections, along with tens of thousands going to polling places, managed to get through June 9 and the days leading up to it without spreading COVID-19.

That is quite an accomplishment. Everyone involved — and you may be among them — deserves a pat on the back.

That victory, more than a small one, ought to give us confidence that eventually, we West Virginians will overcome the coronavirus.

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