By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Thousands of voters in the two Virginias have already cast their ballots ahead of Election Day.
Mercer County Clerk Verlin Moye said 5,914 voters cast their ballot during the entire early voting period. Moye said hundreds of voters came out for the last day of early voting Saturday.
“Mercer County had a great day of early voting,” Moye said. “The courthouse had around 550 and the Bluefield Auditorium had 320 ballots cast Saturday. Voters were lined up all day to cast their ballots and there was very little waiting. I think the longest wait Saturday was about 25 minutes, which is not bad considering the turnout. About 15 percent of our registered voters have cast their ballots early. We’ve also been delivering several absentee ballots to patients in the hospital. This is a little better than what we were expecting. Our early voting period has been better than it was in 2008.”
Moye said he and local poll workers are now focusing on preparing local precincts for the election on Tuesday.
“There is a lot of interest in this election and we are very pleased with the turnout so far,” Moye said. “We are hopeful that Election Day will prove to be a record-breaker, and we are doing everything possible to make sure that it runs as smooth as possible. There are some unknowns in this business that you can’t adequately prepare for. Elections are very dynamic, but it does look like the weather is going to cooperate on Tuesday and we are thankful for that.”
Crystal Greer, a spokesperson with the McDowell County Clerk’s Office, said a total of 513 voters turned out during the early voting period in McDowell County.
“I think we had a great turnout for early voting,” Greer said. “Now we just have to wait until Tuesday. We are ready for voters to come out.”
Monroe County Clerk Donald Evans said more voters came out to vote in the past two weeks than any previous early voting period in county history.
“We finished with 1,531 early voters,” Evans said. “This is a record for Monroe County, and the most we’ve had since early voting started. This equates to 16 percent of our total voter registration.”
Polling places in West Virginia will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
Saturday also marked the end of the in-person absentee voting period in Virginia. Tazewell County Registrar Deborah Barrett said more than 1,000 people cast absentee ballots in the county during the absentee voting period.
“We are just around what we had during the 2008 election,” Barrett said. “It’s pretty much around where we expected. We are hoping our turnout is just a little better than we did during the last presidential election.”
According to Barrett, 704 mail-in ballots have been received while 600 people voted absentee in-person with a total of 1,304 ballots already cast in Tazewell County.
Precincts across Virginia will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.
— Contact Kate Coil at email@example.com