CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The population surge in Berkeley County is making its mark on this primary election day.
Because of the ongoing growth coupled by redistricting, Berkeley County Clerk Elaine Mauck and her staff had to increase voting precincts from 66 to 80 and Mauck said that’s caused some confusion on election day—even though her office has tried to alert voters of the changes.
“We put out 77-thousand cards and as of yesterday we’ve gotten back from the post office with incorrect addresses between 5 and 10-thousand envelopes,” Mauck said.
Voters are calling Mauck’s office to find out their correct precinct.
“We have some confusion,” she said. “The delegate districts have changed (because of redistricting) and we’ve from 66 precincts to 80—our population has just exploded.”
Secretary of State Mac Warner said the important thing for voters is to learn your correct precinct. He said if you get there and they don’t have your name in the book then you can vote a provisional ballot that will be counted during the election canvass next week.
Mark Rhodes, Wood County Clerk, and Elaine Mauck, Berkeley County Clerk, update @HoppyKercheval on how voting has gone so far in their counties. WATCH: https://t.co/yCFQ3nDJuy pic.twitter.com/AsyHAXr2Im
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) May 10, 2022
Warner said there are 17 trained observers visiting precincts throughout the state all day long.
“We have these people spread across the state for quick reaction should there be a problem or issue,” Warner said Tuesday on MetroNews “Talkline.”
Warner said his office has also access to more than 260 workers that are associated with the state Fusion Center.
Statewide voter turnout is expected to be somewhere around 25%, Warner said.
“It’s typical for off-year elections and that means that your vote, which is always important, may be more important today than in those years when there are larger turnouts.”
Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes is also expecting turnout to be less than 30%.
“We had about a 9% turnout for early voting. Today, a few precincts were busy this morning but there’s been a slow down already,” Rhodes said.
He said that could make for a quick tallying of the votes tonight.
“We have about 250 absentee ballots that we’ll start on this afternoon to make sure that they are in and in our total for tonight and is soon as our poll workers come in we’re set up and ready to go,” Rhodes said.
Army of workers
Longtime Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick said the poll workers are key to any election day.
“I do have wonderful poll workers. We couldn’t have an election without them. It takes about 800 to open up on election day,” McCormick said.
She had to fill some last minute openings but she said all but a few Kanawha County precincts had five poll workers–the others have four.
How fast the votes are counted in Kanawha County tonight will depend on how quickly those workers wrap up their work at the precincts. McCormick then deploys workers to pick up the computer sticks at the precincts which are transferred to downtown Charleston for counting.
MetroNews Decision 2022 coverage begins at 7:06 tonight over the air and online at wvmetronews.com.