Voters with Physical Disabilities Absentee Voting Information

Governor Justice

In 2020, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 94, which amends the absentee voting laws to allow certain eligible absentee voters living with a physical disability to receive an absentee ballot electronically, and to vote independently using an electronic ballot marking tool.

Voting by an electronic absentee ballot is an option for absentee voters with a physical disability. Even if you are eligible to vote an electronic absentee ballot, you still have the option to vote a paper ballot with assistance. Please see “Applying for an Electronic Absentee Ballot” below for more information on how to choose your preferred method of absentee voting.

Electronic Absentee Informational Flyer

Electronic Absentee Informational Rack Card

Eligibility:

In order to qualify for an electronic absentee ballot, voters must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. You are registered to vote in your county; and

  2. You qualify for an absentee ballot because you are confined to a specific location and prevented from voting in person during the entire early voting period and on election day because of a disability; and

  3. You have a “physical disability,” which renders you unable to vote without assistance and limits one or more major life activities.

Applying for an Electronic Absentee Ballot:

If you are eligible to vote an electronic absentee ballot, you must submit the Absentee Ballot Application to your county clerk.

To apply to vote by an electronic absentee ballot, you must check the appropriate box and provide a valid email address on the Absentee Ballot Application in Item 4.B.

To apply to vote by a paper absentee ballot, simply select the first box on the Absentee Ballot Application in Item 4.A.

Deadlines to Apply for an Absentee Ballot:

For a statewide Primary Election, the Absentee Ballot Application may be submitted at any time beginning January 1 of the year of the election, and must be received by your county clerk by no later than the 6th day before the election.

For a statewide General Election, the Absentee Ballot Application may be submitted at any time beginning on the 84th day before the General Election, and must be received by your county clerk by no later than the 6th day before the election.

Electronic Absentee Ballot Delivery, Marking, and Return:

Once your Absentee Ballot Application is approved by your county clerk, you will receive an email at the address you provided with detailed instructions on how to receive, mark, and return your ballot.

To access your ballot, go to the web portal provided in the emailed instructions. Once there, you will enter your user credentials and any additional information needed to verify your identity.

Once you login to the web portal, follow the on-screen instructions to open your ballot. Once your ballot is open, make your selections and follow the instructions to complete your ballot.

After completing your ballot, the law provides you the option of either (1) printing and mailing your absentee ballot to your county clerk, or (2) submit your absentee ballot electronically to your county clerk through the web portal.

If you choose to print and mail your absentee ballot, you must include all the required information, including a secrecy waiver. The web portal will print an envelope template that can be folded to create an envelope, and which includes the necessary information to be filled out. If you need assistance with creating and filling out the information required on the envelope, the trusted person providing assistance must sign in the appropriate location on the form.

If you choose to submit your absentee ballot electronically, simply select the appropriate submission option in the web portal. After your ballot is submitted, your county clerk will be notified that your ballot is available to be printed in the county clerk’s office at the appropriate time.

Security:

The Electronic Absentee Ballot delivery and marking tool is hosted by a third party vendor with nearly a decade of experience with providing voters secure technology to deliver and mark absentee ballots electronically.

The web portal is hosted in the government-approved Amazon AWS cloud, which has FedRamp certification. The AWS cloud serves some of the highest profile government customers for storage and transmission of highly classified and sensitive information, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Defense (DOD), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the National Security Agency (NSA).

The web portal utilizes AWS “Object Lock” to ensure that ballots stored in the AWS cloud are secure, immutable and unchangeable. Object Lock meets all National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and federal requirements for secure online storage of critical agency data.

The web portal continues to be reviewed and tested by several independent and government technology experts, including:

  • Amazon AWS (architectural review)
  • Shift State (architectural review)
  • RSM Labs (penetration test)
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) (report pending)
  • SLI Compliance (Election Assistance Commission approved testing laboratory and certification body) (report pending)

The vendor offers different versions and functions of their electronic ballot delivery and marking tool products and services. Since 2010, the company has served nearly 500 jurisdiction for approximately 1,000 different elections.

Some states that have previously used or plan to use one or more the vendor’s products and services include California, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Vermont, and Washington State.

Accessibility:

The web portal is completely accessible to voters living with blindness and visual impairments. Several disability rights organizations and academic institutions have publically commended the company for its product accessibility, including the National Federation of the Blind, American Council of the Blind, University of Washington Center for Technology and Disability Studies, and the Harvard Law School Project on Disability.

Here's a link to some of the testimonials on this vendor’s products: https://democracylive.com/testimonials/

Here’s a link to a 2019 accessibility test report by University of Washington Center for Technology and Disability Studies: https://democracylive.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/University-of-Washington-Accessibility-Test-Report.pdf

More Information:

For more information on electronic absentee eligibility, processes, and the technology, please contact your county clerk or the WVSOS Elections Division at (304) 558-6000 (elections@wvsos.gov).


If we may be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us:  304.558.6000   toll free 866.767.8683  email:   Elections@wvsos.gov

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