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West Virginia polls open till 7:30 p.m. statewide

Parkersburg News and Sentinel photo by Jeff Baughan Steve Travis waits for another poll commissioner to arrive at the Wood County Courthouse Monday.
Parkersburg News and Sentinel photo by Jeff Baughan
Steve Travis waits for another poll commissioner to arrive at the Wood County Courthouse Monday.

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — By the time a good many people turn off the alarm clock this morning, the West Virginia primary election polls will be open.

Polls in Wood County’s 69 precincts, as do polling places statewide, open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes is expecting a heavier than usual turnout and longer lengths of time spent standing in line at the polls.

“The ballot size is much bigger than usual with all the potential national convention candidates on the list,” Rhodes said Monday. “Some may vote for them and some may not. If you do get a precinct where people are voting for delegates, then you can expect to stand in line longer because there are numerous pages of those candidates.”

Rhodes said he expected the heavier than usual turnout “because there are many good races locally. People are choosing nominees for a sheriff, an assessor, a mayor and council in Parkersburg, prosecuting attorney.

“Then you’re choosing nominees for governor in West Virginia, House and Senate,” he said. “There’s a president and others. It’s an important election.”

Voters will choose nominees for president, governor, state Senate and the House of Delegates, sheriff, county clerk and assessor, municipal offices in Parkersburg and Williamstown, circuit judges and magistrates and renewal of levies for the Parkersburg-Wood County Library and the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority.

If early numbers are any indication, Rhodes has a good reason to be optimistic. The early voting period, which concluded Saturday, was record setting by a wide margin.

“We had a total of 6,425 people cast early ballots,” said Rhodes. “The last primary we had a little over 3,700 so we almost doubled that. Now it will be interesting to see the final numbers to the number of people who did vote. We had good weather during early voting and people may have decided to vote while the weather was good instead of chancing it on election day. And the weather is supposed to be not so nice for voting.”

Today’s forecast is for mid-70s and approximately a quarter of an inch of rain. However, at no time during the day is the chance of rain above 50 percent.

The numbers voting Republican far outweighed the numbers of Democrats, 3,110 to 2,295, with 972 non-partisans, one Libertarian, four Mountain party and 43 others doing early voting. Of those, 3,861 chose Republican ballots, 2,545 chose Democrats and 19 non-partisan.

According to Rhodes, there are 21,675 registered Republicans, 18,638 registered Democrats and 13,942 registered non-partisans in Wood County for a total of 54,255 voters.

“What those numbers translate to is this,” Rhodes said. “You had 14.35 percent of Republicans, 12.31 percent of Democrats and 6.97 percent of the non-partisans cast ballots with a total of 11.84 percent of all registered voters voting.”

The early voting period has already paid dividends for today’s election, according to Rhodes. “Without that early voting time, that’s about 6,000 more people standing in line on election day.”

Those still standing in line at 7:30 will be allowed to vote, Rhodes said. But at 7:31? “It’s sorry,” he said, “because people will be given a time permit which will legally show they were in line and on time. If you don’t have a permit, you won’t be allowed in the building.”

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