By Mac WarnerWest Virginia Secretary of State
Due to a 24/7 news cycle and the evolution of social media today, voters are bombarded with election information and political discourse. This, combined with a rapidly changing, unprecedented pandemic, and misinformation at an all-time high, reminds us that we must know our trusted sources and where to verify election information.
The 2020 elections will be historic. In line with recommendations from health experts, many states have made radical changes to their election protocols, including increasing absentee voting options and early voting opportunities. Some states are still in the process of determining these procedures, and such practices may continue to change based on how the pandemic unfolds.
As West Virginia’s Chief Elections Official, my office works diligently to provide all voters with clear and current information about how to participate in the process. The same is true for your local source, too; your county clerk.
As your state and local election officials, we work every day to see that West Virginia voters receive the most accurate and up-to-date information related to elections. We fight against intentionally and inadvertently misleading information about elections, field numerous phone calls to answer questions and provide assistance, respond to social media comments and messages, and work with the media to inform readers and viewers.
The internet provides a perfect forum for inaccurate information to spread like wildfire. In this election alone, my office has seen opinions and political discourse spun into misinformation, which, in turn, disenfranchises voters by causing them to no longer trust the electoral process. Additionally, both Facebook and Twitter have reported shutting down fake accounts used to spread false information and facts about voting. Some of these accounts even impersonate candidates, elected officials, and other credible sources.
While many candidates, organizations, and social media platforms do try to help spread accurate information, voters should always take the time to verify the facts. Know where to look and who to call for accurate information.
www.GoVoteWV.com is your one-stop location for all West Virginia election information. As your trusted source, we have arranged the website to provide answers to your most common election questions. You can also reach my office at 304-558-6000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
The time to make your plan to participate in the 2020 General Election is now. If you choose to vote absentee due to concerns of COVID-19, your county clerk must receive your application by Oct. 28. If you would like to vote in-person, Early Voting will occur from Oct. 21 to 31, or you may head to the polls on Election Day, Nov. 3. You can find the full list of dates and deadlines, as well as any future updates, at www.GoVoteWV.com.
Even as the tides of this pandemic continue to change, election officials remain your tried and true source for accurate information. Know us, connect with us, and follow us for all of your election needs.
Mac Warner is in his fourth year as WV Secretary of State. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the West Virginia University College of Law.
By Mac WarnerWVSOS West Virginia Secretary of State