CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Most West Virginians will probably skip Saturday’s Special Election on the proposed Roads to Prosperity Constitutional Amendment, according to predictions from several of the people who will oversee Election Day in the Mountain State.
It was late June when Governor Jim Justice scheduled the Oct. 7 election for this single issue: Should West Virginia borrow $1.6 billion in the form of bonds to fund road construction projects?
On Saturday, voters will mark either “yes” or “no” on paper ballots in most cases.
Kersey was not expecting the use of paper ballots, a cheaper option, to slow down counting of the results.
“For this election, because it is paper ballot, each precinct is going to count on Election Night rather than bringing everything together to the county clerk’s office or the central counting center as you would with the electronic voting machines.”
Preliminary numbers from the Secretary of State’s Office put the total number of early votes and absentee votes, prior to Wednesday’s early voting end, at 37,534 or three percent of the 1.2 million registered voters in West Virginia.
“It’s not surprising that the turnout is low,” Kersey said as he noted on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline” that there aren’t any candidates on the ballot which means no candidate dollars are being spent on advocacy advertisements.
“A lot of political action committees really haven’t come out either in support or against the road bond,” Kersey said. “There are a few out there that I’ve heard, but not nearly as many as if there had been candidates on the ballot.”
“Some people still don’t even know we’re having an election on Saturday,” Monongalia County Clerk Carye Blaney told MetroNews earlier this week.
In all, there are 1,851 precincts in 55 counties that will be open on Election Day, but some precinct locations may be different.
“Because this election’s on a Saturday and, as we know, there are several festivals going on throughout the state, a lot of the traditional polling places had to change,” Kersey explained. “You should have received a notice in the mail if your precinct changed.”
He recommended checking the website for the Secretary of State’s Office prior to going to vote to confirm precinct locations.
Polls will be open Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. MetroNews will have the results on Saturday night at wvmetronews.com.