CHARLESTON, W.Va. — All across West Virginia results of early voting indicate people are growing more and more satisfied with the opportunity to cast a ballot well ahead of election day.
“We had 183,205 people who early voted,” said Secretary of State Mac Warner. “That represents probably 16 or 17 percent of the total registered voters.”
Warner was unsure if it was the increasing popularity of early voting or a foreshadowing of a big voter turnout for election day. He hoped it would be the latter.
“We’ve been doing so much. Clerks have been cleaning up election rolls, we’ve been registering new students and new voters,” he explained. “We’ve got about 91,000 new registrations and if those people get out to vote we’re going to have a wonderful turnout.”
Early voting was extremely successful in Kanawha and Putnam Counties where voters had multiple options to cast an early ballot. Kanawha County staged six early voting outlets in various parts of the sprawling county. A total of 16,352 voted early in Kanawha County.
“I predicted 40 percent, but I don’t think we’ll go over 45,” said Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick. “That would be great. Most off year elections we’re lucky to do 23 percent.”
In Putnam County Clerk Brian Wood said 7,559 voted early and it was a near even split between the traditional early voting location at the courthouse in Winfield and the new satellite voting location at Valley Park in Hurricane.
“It took a lot of pressure off the courthouse and between the two the lines kept moving and there were no extremely long lines at either place,” he said. “Hopefully it will take some pressure off of election day.”
Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. McCormick said she expected the counting election night to go rapidly with new voting technology.
“We will have numbers quickly,” she explained. “As fast as the supply people get the data-sticks into us, it doesn’t take any time to run them.”