Early voting underway in West Virginia; more than 24K ballots cast so far

Early voting began on May 1 for the West Virginia primary election. (Stephen Maturen | Getty Images)

More than 24,000 ballots have been cast in the first few days of early voting for West Virginia’s primary election, officials say. 

As of Saturday, 24,579 West Virginians had voted, according to unofficial totals from the Secretary of State’s Office.

Early voting started May 1. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, 58,684 West Virginia residents cast their ballots during early voting for the 2022 primary election, and 43,468 West Virginians early voted in the 2020 primary.

In Kanawha County, a total of 3,027 people voted as of Monday afternoon, County Clerk Vera McCormick said. She added that that’s a low number for the start of a presidential election year. 

Typically, between 500 and 800 per day cast their vote at the Kanawha County Voter Registration office alone, she said. Voter Registration at the Kanawha County Courthouse is one of nine places in Kanawha County where people can go to early vote. McCormick attributed the slower start this year to the many races on the ballot and a high number of political advertisements.

“I think people are taking their time and researching,” she said. “I think they’re checking things out before they come to vote.”

In Putnam County about 1,100 people had voted as of Saturday, County Clerk Brian Wood said. During the 2022 primary, 2,435 Putnam County residents voted early. Altogether during that primary, 8,724 ballots were cast, representing 22.75% of registered voters in the county, he said. 

Wood said he’s confident as many votes will be cast during this year’s primary election, but he noted that a 22.75% isn’t a high turnout. 

Wood said that early voting offers a convenience factor for people who may work on election day and is just as safe as casting your ballot on election day as far as the office securing and tabulating the ballots. 

It’s important for people to realize that judicial races, school board races and levies are on the ballot only during the primary, he said. 

“Regardless of whether you vote absentee, you vote early or you vote on election day, we encourage everyone to get out and have their voices heard,” Wood said. He added that there are several important down ballot races this year, including the governor’s race.

Early voting continues through May 11. A list of early voting locations is available on the Secretary of State’s website. 

Primary election day is Tuesday, May 14. Polls open at 6:30 a.m and close at 7:30 p.m.

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