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Early voting continues despite storm

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Despite blizzard warnings and cold rain, early voting will continue across West Virginia, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant announced Oct. 29.

However, Tennant announced later Oct. 29 that early voting has been suspended in Morgan County for Oct. 30.

"Secretary Tennant said the situation in Morgan County is too dangerous for people to risk their safety," according to the news release. "The suspension is only for Tuesday, Oct. 30 and only affects voters in Morgan County."

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued a state of emergency, but so far no roads have been closed and people have not been ordered to stay indoors. However, Tennant reminded people in a news release to be careful if they must travel and not to risk their safety in order to early vote.

"If you don't have to go out, stay inside and make sure you are ready for this storm," Tennant said. "Be mindful of high water, downed power lines and icy conditions. Please, do not go out and risk your safety to try and make it to an early voting location. There are several more days of early voting and even Election Day, which is next Tuesday. Use your best judgment and stay off the roads if it's not safe."

Tennant's office is working with county clerks across the state to develop contingency plans for early voting locations in case power outages or other emergencies occur. The secretary of state's office also will stay in contact with the National Weather Service and the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security for updates on the storm.

Disruptions in early voting can occur, such as instances of high water and power outages. If the power goes out at an early voting location, the batteries on iVotronic touch screen voting machines have enough power to run the machines for several hours. Tennant's office is working on other voting options for people if power is lost at these early voting locations for extended periods.

Voters have experienced power outages in previous elections, but Tennant said those outages did not stop the elections process.

So far, more than 72,518 West Virginians have voted either via early voting or absentee ballots.