Charleston, W. Va. – Citing a safe and successful West Virginia Primary Election held on June 9, 2020, Secretary of State Mac Warner announced today that almost all increased county costs resulting from the 2020 Primary Election have been approved by the State Election Commission for county reimbursement. Based on the Primary reimbursements requested by counties, absent another “stay-home order” which requires voters to vote using the mail, West Virginia has sufficient federal dollars on-hand to cover the anticipated increased costs for the General Election.
In early 2020, Warner worked with the West Virginia Delegation to receive approximately $3.8 million in federal funds from Congress under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to cover the increased costs associated with administering federal elections held during the COVID-19 pandemic. CARES funding is intended to be spent towards increasing safety measures and reducing counties’ financial burden of administering federal elections during the pandemic.
According to Secretary Warner, $1.5 million has already been approved for county reimbursements and covers almost all additional county costs resulting from the Primary Election. Nearly 70% of the reimbursed costs cover increases in absentee ballots and postage.
Today, Secretary Warner announced that approximately $2.8 million in CARES funding will be available to counties for the 2020 General Election. Although West Virginia has no reported cases of COVID-19 resulting from any in-person voting, CARES Act funding is available to counties to, in part, cover the increased costs of absentee voting and postage in the upcoming General Election.
“Our successful Primary Election held during the pandemic came with increased costs and major labor demands on our county clerks,” Warner said. “Thanks to Congress, the State has the ability to reimburse for increased costs in the General Election resulting from the pandemic. This will give counties the ability to offer multiple options to voters to participate during the pandemic without the added worry and financial strain on their budgets.”
Secretary Warner also announced today that approved CARES Act requests are available for public viewing online. “West Virginia values transparency, and we have made the CARES funding processes fully available to the public. All current applications for approved reimbursed materials purchased by counties to hold the Primary Election can be found publicly at GoVoteWV.com,” Warner said.
In addition to the CARES Act funding plan, West Virginia is also in the process of administering an additional $4 million through a separate federal grant program under the Help America Vote Act to increase election security and upgrade voting equipment. With CARES Act and HAVA federal funds available to counties, our State’s election officials are again poised and prepared to administer another safe, fair and secure election during the pandemic.