Man at polls is told he'd already voted; Mingo voters improperly asked for ID
Election Day in West Virginia appeared to go smoothly with healthy voter turnout, Secretary of State spokesman Jake Glance said early Tuesday evening.
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant urged voters during a press conference Monday to report any improprieties to her office immediately.
While a few people reported specific problems at precincts, Glance said most calls appeared to be related to the redistricting that took place earlier this year.
Callers believed they had been given the wrong ballots.
Glance said some voters said they wanted to vote for a certain candidate, only to find that person was not on their ballot.
"We have had several calls about that," he said. "People thought they should have been voting for so-and-so when in fact their ballot listed someone else."
Glance said elections officials then had to explain how the redistricting stemming from the 2010 Census may have affected the voter's district.
There was a smattering of other problems.
One iVotronic voting machine in Monongalia County ran out of paper for 30 minutes Tuesday morning.
In Kanawha County, at least one voter had to cast a provisional ballot after poll workers said records showed he had cast a ballot during the early voting period.
Dunbar resident Bryce Casto, 53, showed up to vote at precinct 289 at Dunbar Middle School yesterday afternoon -- just as he had done for several elections in a row now -- only to be told he had already voted.
"They said I voted on November 2nd during the Early Voting period," Casto said. "I said I teach and coach football and I was away at a football game that day.
"It was very upsetting to me, but they said I could vote provisional ballot, which I did," he said. "Still, that's not a type of situation where you should have mistakes -- it's very frustrating."
Casto knew the poll workers and he said they appeared upset about the matter as well. He said it appeared to simply be a clerical error, rather than some form of voter identity theft.
Casto called the Secretary of State's office about the matter Tuesday afternoon. Glance said officials have been working with Kanawha County officials.
Like the poll workers, Kanawha officials believe the problem was simply a mistake during early voting.
"They think maybe the wrong person was given credit for voting," Glance said.
He said county officials would go back over the voting records during the election canvass to double check the records.
"If that person doesn't have a poll stub, they will count that provisional ballot in the canvass," Glance said.
"I'm not sure what happened at this point," Casto said. "I am interested if someone actually did vote and use my name, that is a concern in the back of my mind."
Some voters also were improperly asked to show a valid ID at one precinct in Mingo County.
Williamson attorney Teresa McCune, 60, said when she went to vote at 1 p.m. at her regular precinct, the poll worker asked her to produce an ID.
Laws requiring photo IDs at the polls have been passed in other states, but not West Virginia. Critics say they are a tactic used to suppress votes in some areas.
McCune said she told the poll worker the law does not require an ID to vote. She said the poll worker said it was just what they were told to do but allowed McCune to go ahead and vote.
"I was just personally appalled because I know the law and I know they shouldn't do that," McCune said during a phone interview Tuesday.
"I live in America, not an Eastern Bloc country -- you're not supposed to be asked to show your papers," she said.
A Mingo County Clerk's Office representative said the office learned about the incident Tuesday afternoon. They said they did not know why the poll worker -- who was new -- was asking for ID but said the misunderstanding had been corrected.
Despite the sporadic incidents reported around the state, Glance said election officials in the field reported healthy turnout statewide.
"Everybody's saying it's pretty heavy -- turnout's strong," he said.
Tennant said Monday she expected about 60 percent of registered voters to cast ballots.
That would be a bit higher than the 58.6 percent turnout in 2008, but less than the 65.9 percent in 2004; 62 percent in 2000; 67 percent in 1996 and 73 percent in 1992.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5148.