Heavy voting going smoothly so far, official says

By Chris Dickerson | Nov 4, 2008


CHARLESTON -- Glitches are few and far between on Election Day, and voter turnout in West Virginia seems to be high.

"Things are actually going really well," said Sarah Bailey, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Betty Ireland. "It's better than past elections in that things are going very well. Of course, there always are little things, such as paper jams, that happen in every election. But they're minor issues. Nothing big."

Bailey said she's hearing that voter turnout is higher than in recent elections.

"It's definitely heavier than the last few elections," she said. "Polling places are staying busy. But I don't think the waits are inordinately long -- just longer than what people might be accustomed."

A worker in the Monongalia County Clerk's office echoed those sentiments.

"We have a heavy turnout," she said. "Everything is going fine. No major problems. So far, so good."

The same goes in Mason County.

"Things are going really good," a county clerk employee said. "We've had a good turnout. No complaints."

The trend continued in Putnam County, where Circuit Clerk Brian Wood said turnout was fairly heavy, which was expected.

Barboursille resident Donna McCallister went to the Cabell County polls twice Tuesday, for her eleventh presidential election. She first voted in 1968, an election won by Richard Nixon.

McCallister said she was going to vote on her way to work but the lines were too long, so she returned in the evening, and waited more than 80 minutes to cast her vote.

West Virginians voted early in record numbers. About 154,000 took advantage of no-excuse early voting this fall, up from 126,500 in the 2004 general election.

Almost 16,000 in Kanawha County voted early. Other high turnouts occurred in Berkeley County (about 11,000), Wood County (almost 9,500), and Cabell (about 7,500).

Also, the Secretary of State's office says just over 13,000 absentee ballots had been voted and submitted.

Early voting turnout and absentee voting numbers seemed to follow party lines in the state: Democrats 58 percent; Republicans 32 percent; No Party/Other 10 percent. Data shows that the Mountain Party had 81 persons early vote and vote absentee.

Polls close at 7:30 p.m.

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