Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 14, 2014

Officials: Mercer, McDowell voting turnout disappointing

BLUEFIELD — Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures, voter turnout in both Mercer and McDowell County was disappointing, according to local officials.

When Mercer County Clerk Verlin Moye visited area precincts, he saw no lines and just a few voters.

“I would call the turnout light to moderate,” Moye said.

By late afternoon, he estimated a 20 to 22 percent voter turnout.

In McDowell County, County Clerk Don Hicks said voter turnout was extremely low and he couldn’t put a number on the percentage.

“It is unbelievable, though,” he added.

Moye said elections during non- presidential years are always low. Another contributing force could be lack of candidates on the ballot.

“Some of the Republican races were uncontested,” he said.

Hicks said the lack of voters could be attributed to the candidate’s campaigns.

“I think people are tired of the campaigning,” Hicks said.

Hicks would like to see a later filing date for candidates, which would leave less time for campaigns. He believes it would prevent voter burnout.

Moye and Hicks said election day operations were smooth at the polls. Those who did cast a vote said they wanted to exercise their voice.

Randy Luck, 50, of Bluefield, said he began voting in his late 20s.

“It is my right to vote to get the proper leaders,” he said.

Kyle Croe, 35, a member of the Bluefield Rescue Squad, said he was given an “I voted” sticker at his precinct in Bluefield.

“They (elected officials) represent our wants and beliefs,” he added.

Marsha Platnick, 70, also of Bluefield, said she has voted for 49 years.

“How can we lobby for a better world if I don’t support those who I believe can change it,” she said.

Platnick can only recall missing one election.

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