Polling place voting sign

A voting sign is seen outside a polling place, Wednesday.

PRINCETON — There was no rush Wednesday when early polls opened for voters who wish to cast their ballots in person before the June 9 primary election.

Voters can choose between four different early polling places in Mercer County. Local and state races are on both the Republican and Democratic ballots, including nominations for governor.

“Our first day of early voting was a little on the light side, “ County Clerk Verlin Moye said after polls closed for the day. 

A total of 90 votes were cast at the Mercer County Courthouse, followed by 39 at the Bluefield Auditorium off Stadium Drive. Covenant Baptist Church in Athens had 23 votes,and Four Seasons Answering Service in Bluewell had 13 ballots cast, Moye said. The total number of early votes cast Wednesday was 165.

“Also important to note is that we have organized four absentee ballot input crews transferring the paper ballots into the electronic voting machines,” Moye said. “These crews are composed of experienced election personnel who have taken an oath of secrecy and integrity. I can honestly say that we have the very best poll workers in the state of West Virginia. We couldn’t do it without them. We have a gauntlet of checks and balances in place for quality control, security and accountability. We put an enormous amount of time, effort and money into our elections to see that they are clean and fair.”

Moye said that his office was asking voters to bring their own masks and practice social distancing and sanitary guidelines at the polls. Voting by mail is still available.

“For those with health and safety concerns, absentee ballots can still be ordered by mail up until June 3, 2020,” Moye said. “Also visit our website: www.mercervotes.com or call 304-487-8338 or 8339.”

In West Virginia, early votes can be cast from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Other early polling places in southern West Virginia saw a light first-day turnout as well. In Monroe County, 32 ballots were cast at the 911 center next to the courthouse in Union, and another 25 were cast at Peterstown Town Hall, according to County Clerk Donald J. Evans.

Evans said all the polls workers were wearing masks and gloves as well as sanitizing equipment and surfaces after someone votes. Precautions such as the 6-foot social distancing policy was being practiced as well. Voters were being asked to wear masks, too.

“We’re recommending it, but we can’t require it because we can’t deny someone the right to vote, so we’re simply encouraging it,” he stated.

Monroe County voters can see request mail-in absentee ballots by calling 304-772-3096.

Evans said his office has received about 2,000 absentee ballots so far. June 3 is the deadline for submitting an absentee ballot application. These ballots must be postmarked by Election Day.

June 6 is the last day for early voting.

Election officials in McDowell County were unavailable Wednesday. 

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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