<a href="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2016\/05\/stock-photo-5601645-vote.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-18870" alt="stock-photo-5601645-vote" src="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2016\/05\/stock-photo-5601645-vote-300x199.jpg" width="300" height="199" \/><\/a>Early voting is set to begin in West Virginia next week, and officials want Greenbrier Countians to know that their votes are secure.\r\nSecretary of State Natalie Tennant was in Greenbrier County Wednesday, spreading the word that now is the time to get educated about local candidates.\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s been a rough campaign for voters,\u201d Tennant said, alluding to the presidential race which has dominated headlines and divided the country for the past year. \u201cBut down ballot candidates are important, even if you\u2019re tired of hearing about it.\u201d\r\nThe impacts of local elections are easily felt, Tennant said, and voters must educate themselves, especially since this year marks the first time West Virginia voters will not be able to vote a straight ticket.\r\n\u201cGive yourself a little more time to vote and to research,\u201d she said.\r\nTennant also stressed that her office is dedicated to ensuring that election results are monitored for fairness. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has recently indicated that he believes the election is going to be \u201crigged\u201d in favor of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, statements that Tennant, a Democratic candidate for reelection herself, finds \u201cirresponsible.\u201d\r\n\u201cThere is no evidence that election fraud is being committed,\u201d she said. \u201cThere are 9,000 dedicated poll workers in the state, who would all have to be in cahoots to commit a widespread fraud. It would take a heck of a lot of collusion between poll workers to pull that off,\u201d she said, adding that the number of West Virginia poll workers in every precinct are divided evenly between the Republican and Democratic parties. \u201cThis is serious, and poll workers take it seriously.\u201d\r\nAs absentee ballots start rolling in, she and others in her office are tracking them. So far, she said, there is no indication that the number of absentee ballots have \u201cballooned\u201d suspiciously. \u201cThere\u2019s nothing out of the norm,\u201d she said.\r\n\u201cWe have people monitoring the election all over the state. Machines are being tested now. Voting machines are not connected to the internet or to each other.\u201d Tennant reminds voters to check the paper receipt that prints out after they vote on electronic machines to make sure that their votes have been cast correctly.\r\nLocal county clerk Robin Loudermilk is preparing for the election, as well, and battling some rumors of her own. Last week, a post was made by the city of Lewisburg on its Facebook page telling voters that if their addresses had been changed via the 911 address changes, then they would have to get a new voter registration card by Oct. 18 or cast a provisional ballot.\r\nThis is not true, Loudermilk said. If you have not changed residences, then your precinct is still the same and you will be able to vote as normal. She does recommend, however, that you update your voter registration card after the election.\r\nEarly voting starts on Oct. 26 and ends on Nov. 5. In Greenbrier County, early voters can cast their ballots at the Greenbrier County Courthouse, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and at the Rupert Community Building Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.