Absentee voting in West Virginia and Ohio

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CHARLESTON, W.Va., WASHINGTON COUNTY, Oh.-(WTAP) West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner announced Thursday all registered voters are eligible to cast an absentee by-mail ballot for the state's May 12 primary election.

That's due to the state of emergency declared earlier in March by Governor Jim Justice.

Voters can ask for an absentee ballot by contacting their local county clerk's office, which will send them a ballot with instructions and voting materials.

Applications must be received by the county clerk on or before May 6, and absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day of the primary, May 12.

April 21, meanwhile, is the last day to register to vote in the May primary. Early in-person voting is scheduled to take place from April 29 to May 9

Meanwhile, Ohio's upcoming primary will now be the first ever to be conducted without precinct voting.

The state legislature voted Wednesday to conduct the primary, now set for April 28, by absentee ballot. Registered voters can request an absentee ballot online, or by calling their board of elections office.

Once the ballot is filled out, it should be returned to the board of elections office.

"We here in Washington County are currently working on a skeleton crew where there's just two of us," Karen Palowski, Deputy Washington County Board of Elections Director, explained. "But eventually, we will have the ability to bring their ballots and put them through a mail slot in our door, which will be very safe and be secured within our office."

When requesting an absentee ballot, Ohio voters need to fill out all important information, including whether they're asking for a Democrat, Republican or "issues only" ballot.

Votes cast during the early voting period also will be counted on primary election night, April 28.