We knew there would be a strong voter turnout Tuesday, but the tidal wave of voter anger that swept across the nation — and the coalfields of southern West Virginia — far surpassed most expectations. Everyone who voted Tuesday is to be applauded for casting a ballot and having a say in our state, our nation and our region’s future.
But given the volume of votes that were cast Tuesday, there was certainly the potential for problems, and both the news media and the candidates were bracing for a long night of election returns. That wasn’t the case thanks to the fine job area poll workers and voter registration officials did Tuesday night.
In particular, we applaud Mercer County Clerk Verlin Moye, McDowell County Clerk Don Hicks and Tazewell County Registrar Brian Earls for doing an excellent job in getting the votes tabulated and the results released to the press and the public as quickly as possible.
In fact, things went extremely smoothly Tuesday night, and the Daily Telegraph had complete results from Mercer, McDowell and Tazewell counties well before 10 p.m. As a result, we were able to call key races early, get detailed election results online and keep the public informed through social media. We also were able to provide a comprehensive, and complete, report for readers in the following morning’s print edition of the Daily Telegraph.
In year’s past it was not unusual for the Daily Telegraph to be waiting and still crunching numbers well past 10 p.m. Sometimes we were not able to call key races until 11 p.m., or later. That’s why we are so pleased at the excellent job Moye, Hicks and Earls did Tuesday night. In fact, there was really only one race left hanging when this newspaper went to print Tuesday night, and that was the still too-close-to-call U.S. Senate race in Virginia between incumbent Democrat Mark Warner and Republican challenger Ed Gillespie. For weeks leading up to the election, polls were suggesting an easy re-election victory for Warner. But those polls were clearly wrong. And angry voters across Southwest Virginia went to the polls in large numbers — many apparently voting for Gillespie — making the race much closer than political pundits expected.
But with the exception of the U.S. Senate race in Virginia, things went extremely well Tuesday night. And we credit that success to Moye, Hicks and Earls, and all of their staff members and those dedicated poll workers who labored Tuesday to get the ballots counted and delivered to their respective courthouses in a timely manner.
Everyone did a good job. And they are to be applauded for their efforts. But most importantly, we must salute everyone who voted Tuesday. Your vote did make a difference. Together, an overwhelming message was sent to Washington. Positive change is now on the horizon. It’s a new day for America — and the coalfields of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia.