County Races Could Drive Turnout Numbers Up

County courthouses will likely be the busiest buildings in West Virginia Tuesday with the 2012 General Election.

Although there’s a lot of discussion about the races for president, senate and governor, there are many challenged county races across West Virginia.

“There is nothing like a local hotly contested race to get the vote out,” West Virginia Association of Counties Executive Director Patti Hamilton said.

A number of those races in the Mountain State are for county sheriff. Hamilton says there will be new sheriffs elected in 31 counties. She says the two-term term limit stopped current sheriffs from running again.

There are also races for county commission, prosecutor, assessor and magistrate.

Hamilton says she has noticed more third party candidates in county races than there have been in the last 15 years.

“There are Libertarian and Constitution Party (candidates),” she said. “I’ve never seen that before in any number.”

Hamilton says large crowds will gather at county courthouses Tuesday night where the votes will be counted. She says even though technology has improved that part of election night hasn’t changed.

Hamilton says the snow left behind by Hurricane Sandy has created a number of issues in several counties.

“There will still be some people that will be challenged to even get to the polls,” she said. “While there’s always a lot of work behind the scenes for elections that the public isn’t aware of, this has significantly increased it for those counties.”

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