Absentee votes set to surpass ’08
Applications for absentee ballots in Kanawha County are on pace to surpass the 2008 total, County Clerk Vera McCormick said.
As of Thursday afternoon, her Kanawha County office received 1,223 applications for absentee ballots. A total of 2,397 absentee ballots were sent out during the 2008 election, she said.
"And we're getting more applications every day."
Applications for absentee ballots must be delivered to the clerk's office by 5 p.m. Oct. 31.
"I think we'll pass the number we sent out in 2008," McCormick said.
The last presidential race was in 2008, and the contests typically generate more interest than off-year elections, she said.
In 2008, 62.8 percent of registered voters in Kanawha County turned out to cast their ballots.
The number of requests for absentee ballots so far leads McCormick to believe that a high number of the more than 133,700 registered voters in Kanawha County will turn out for the election.
"I think we'll have 60 to 65 percent of our voters coming out," she said.
So far, more Democratic voters have requested absentee ballots than any other party, according to figures provided by McCormick. A total of 618 Democrats have requested an absentee ballot.
A total of 431 Republicans have requested absentee ballots, according to the figures. Twenty independents, 153 voters with no registered party and one voter who listed his party as "conservative" have requested absentee ballots so far.
Democratic voters also requested the most absentee ballots in the 2008 presidential election. A total of 1,264 Democrats and 772 Republicans voted by mail that year, according to figures provided by McCormick.
Two Green Party voters requested absentee ballots, as did 34 independents. Only one Libertarian requested an absentee ballot in 2008. One Socialist and 34 independents voted by mail, as did 322 no-party voters, according to the figures.
Tuesday was the last day to register to vote in West Virginia, and although McCormick isn't sure how many people came through the office, she said it was a busy day.
"We had people lined up out the door and down the street."
McCormick said she hadn't seen a turnout to register to vote that large in years.
"We're been really busy the last two weeks with people coming in and registering to vote," she said.
Many people also came down to the Kanawha County Voters Registration office on Quarrier Street to change their addresses or their names, she said.
McCormick and the employees in the office also are preparing for early voting, which begins Wednesday. They expect a large turnout.
"The first day of early voting is always busy," she said.
The next few days of early voting are also "steady," she said.
"We averaged about 1,000 to 1,200 early votes per day in 2008," she said.