Turnout for West Virginia's first day of early voting was up nearly 45 percent from the same time in 2008.
Unofficial totals from the Secretary of State's Office indicate 14,787 people voted Wednesday. An average of 10,206 people voted early each day prior to Election Day in 2008.
Kanawha County Clerk Vera McCormick said the increase was likely due to a change in state law that shortened the early voting period.
In 2011, state lawmakers lessened the period by two days, from 15 to 13. McCormick was glad to see the shorter period hadn't put off voters.
The first day's numbers indicate 2008 turnout will be met or surpassed, she said.
In Kanawha County, 1,290 people cast ballots Wednesday, compared to 713 on the first day of early voting in 2008.
A total of 721 Democrats voted in Kanawha County Wednesday. Republicans accounted for 414 ballots. Twenty independents, two Libertarians, one Mountain Party member and one Principal Party member also voted. There were 131 voters who did not identify a party.
"We had 24 people come through the first 10 minutes we were open," McCormick said. "I think people are just more geared up and excited about this election is the reason we had a good day."
In 2008, more than 153,000 people voted early in West Virginia. They accounted for 21 percent of the total number of votes cast in the state that year.
Generally, experts see early voting rates as a good indicator for the level of participation in the election as a whole.
Neil Berch, associate professor of political science at West Virginia University, said trends point to a rise in early voting nationwide.