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Primary Election Day in the United States

West Virginia’s primary election, also known as primary election day, is listed as a state holiday in which state government offices in West Virginia are closed. West Virginia’s primary election occurs on the second Tuesday of May during even years

Is Primary Election Day a Public Holiday?

Primary Election Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

State government offices are usually closed during West Virginia's primary election (pictured above is West Virginia's state capitol building).

©iStockphoto.com/Skyhobo

What Do People Do?

Polling Places are usually open from 6.30am (06:30) to 7.30pm (19:30) local time on primary election day in West Virginia. Voters eligible to vote in West Virginia’s primary election must be United States citizens and residents in West Virginia.

Some people volunteer to be poll workers for the primary election. In West Virginia’s counties that use electronic voting systems, county commission clerks must deliver vote recording devices to polling places not less than one hour prior to polls opening.

Public Life

West Virginia’s primary election day is listed as a state holiday, in which the state government is closed. It is also a holiday for some university employees.

Workers who do not have a holiday can request up to three hours off from their employer, without taking leave or a deduction of pay, if they do not have at least three hours before or after work that they can go to the polls to vote.  This request must be made in writing and be given to employers at least three days prior to election day.

Background

A primary election is a preliminary election in which voters nominate party candidates for office. Voters in a jurisdiction select candidates for subsequent elections.  It is one way that a political party nominates candidates for a following general election. They are common in the United States and are conducted by the government on behalf of the parties.

West Virginia has a closed primary, meaning that voters can only vote the ballot of the party in which they are registered, although some parties allow unaffiliated voters to vote their ballots upon request.  A party change must be filed by the close of registration (21 days) before a primary or general election for voters to be eligible to vote the new party's ballot.

Primary Election Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2016TueMay 10Primary Election DayState holidayWest Virginia
2018TueMay 8Primary Election DayState holidayWest Virginia
2020TueMay 12Primary Election DayState holidayWest Virginia
2022TueMay 10Primary Election DayState holidayWest Virginia
2024TueMay 14Primary Election DayState holidayWest Virginia

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