Jefferson sees record number of early voters

CHRISTINE MILLER FORD
Spirit Staff

CHARLES TOWN – A record number of early voters already have turned out in Jefferson County, according to Jennifer Maghan, the county’s chief elections officer.

Early voting was suspended Tuesday as county residents dealt with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, but will resume today and continue Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Any registered voter who lives in the county may cast a ballot at the Jefferson County Courthouse at 100 E. Washington St. in Charles Town between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on those days.

Since early voting began on Oct. 24, the line at the courthouse for early voting has been longer than many expected, and some residents have opted not to begin the process.

Maghan said voters typically have spent less than an hour to get into the voting booth for early voting.

So far, 2,955 votes have been cast in Jefferson County. Six hundred voters turned out on Oct. 24; 580 on Oct. 25; 663 on Oct. 26; 685 on Oct. 27 and another 427 amid nasty rain on Monday.

“Early voting turnout was fantastic yesterday,” Maghan said on Tuesday. “Many voters said that they came in because their office closed early.”

This year’s numbers have eclipsed the previous record in 2008 when 950 voters had cast their ballots by the third day of early voting. At the end of the third day this year, 1,843 voters had cast their ballots.

Early voting has become increasingly popular in West Virginia, according to Natalie E. Tennant, Secretary of State. The option has been offered in the Mountain State since the primary election in 2002.

Throughout the state, early voting was suspended in many counties as snow and other fallout from the storm made travel less than ideal.

For voters in Berkeley County, early voting will continue through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Voter Registration office at 110 W. King St. in Martinsburg.

For the general election on Tuesday, voters will head to their individual precincts. Across West Virginia, all polling places will be open Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

When polls close on Tuesday, ballots cast early are counted along with ballots cast on Election Day as well as those sent in absentee.

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