The state's first "no excuse" voting by absentee ballot starts in April. Calhoun, not unlike most West Virginia counties, has experienced very low voter turnout, sometimes under 30 percent.

Circuit Clerk Shelia Garretson said the polls (in her office) will be open 15 days prior to Primary Election Day on May 14.

Absentee voting will be allowed for "easy voting" and no-strings-attached from April 29, and will close on May 13 at 1 p.m.

In previous years, voters were required to sign affidavits stating they would be out of the area. No longer necessary.

No excuse voting has been started in other states, with some increase in voter turnout.

County Clerk Richard Kirby said the absentee ballots will be counted through the automatic machine shortly after the polls close. New absentee voting commissioners are being appointed to just monitor the absentee ballots.

Meanwhile, the search goes on for a few more poll workers in the county. The Calhoun Commission raised the poll workers pay from $80 to $100. Both Democrat and Republican executive committees have submitted names for poll workers, but a few gaps remain, according to Kirby.

Kirby has announced the County Clerk's office will be extending hours to register, amend or correct voter registration. The last day to register for the May primary is April 24 at 4:30 p.m.

The extended hours:

Saturday, April 20 - 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Monday, April 22 - 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Tuesday, April 23 - 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.

The testing of the automatic optical scanner voting machine will be conducted on May 7 at 10 a.m. in the County Clerk's office. "The test will be open to representatives of both political parties, the press, candidates and the public," said Kirby.

Poling places for Calhoun:

Precinct 1: Brooksville - Brooksville Baptist Church

Precinct 4: Grantsville area - Little Court Room, Grantsville

Precinct 5: Big Springs - Pleasant Hill School

Precinct 6: Grantsville corporation - Senior Citizens Center

Precinct 7: Mt. Zion area - Calhoun County Park

Precinct 8: Pleasant Hill area - Pleasant Hill School

Precinct 10: Arnoldsburg area - Arnoldsburg School

Precinct 11: Hur-Daniels Run - Calhoun Middle/High School

Precinct 15: Minnora area - Minnora Community Center

Precinct 19: Orma area - Minnora Community Center

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