PARKERSBURG - Polls opened at 6:30 a.m. today and will remain open until 7:30 p.m. for the 2012 primary election in West Virginia.
Wood County has 54,157 residents registered to vote in today's primary; 20,872 Democrats; 21,521 Republicans; 38 Mountain Party; 11,299 no party affiliation; 427 other.
According to the secretary of state's office, there are 1,226,545 eligible voters in West Virginia. 640,888 (52.25 percent) registered Democrat; 352,304 (28.72 percent) Republicans; 1,286 (.10 percent) Mountain Party, and 210,562 (17.17 percent) no party affiliation. There are 21,505 (1.75 percent) registered with another political party.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Mark Rhodes, left, and Tom Blondin stand by the lines of voting supplies, which will be used in today’s West Virginia primary election.
No polling place location changes were made for this election, but a state delegate redistricting created a pocket of voters between the 8th and 10th Delegate districts, County Clerk Jamie Six said. The new precinct is 41U, with the U standing for unincorporated, he said.
Part of Precinct 40A was moved from Delegate District 10 to Delegate District 8. The change left a pocket of about 52 voters. A strip along Ann's Drive, near but not in the city of Vienna, was left in District 10; the rest was moved to District 8 during the state's redistricting.
The affected voters would cast ballots in Precinct 41 at Grand Pointe Conference Center. When there is a city election, those voters will be given ballots that do not have the city election issues on them since they live in an unincorporated area. County officials asked for a waiver on the number of voters since the newly proposed precinct did not meet the minimum voter requirement. Local election officials said affected voters were notified of the change.
In Wood County, 3,730 voters voted during the early vote period, which began April 25 and ended Saturday. The total doesn't include absentee ballots.
Six said 2,566 residents voted at the Judge Black Courthouse Annex early-vote site, which was open 10 days; 417 voted at the Vienna city building community vote site location; 322 at the Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department; 1,235 at the Williamstown City Building early vote precinct and 190 at the Mineral Wells VFD. This was the first year the county offered community early vote sites. The new community vote sites were open May 1-5.
"Of course we always wish there was more participation," Six said of the early vote turnout. "I think the real test will be today, whether offering those early vote opportunities will help us eliminate problems with lines on election day. We have already received a number of phone calls from voters thanking us for the early vote sites, saying how much more convenient it was for them," Six said. This was the first year the county offered community vote sites in addition to the annex early vote precinct.
The only issue on the ballot today is the Easy Rider bus levy, which will be voted on by residents of Vienna and Parkersburg.
An earlier problem at the state level with an incorrect number of Republican Convention Delegates was corrected with changes made in the ballots. County officials said the problem was pointed out by the Romney for President campaign after the West Virginia ballots had already been approved. The original instructions and programming for the Republican Party primary at-large delegates to the national convention restricted voters to 18 selections even though 19 are to be elected, according to the secretary of state's office. No other races were affected.
Rules for the election of convention delegates are set by the state party. The West Virginia Republican Party has determined three delegates are selected by virtue of their party office and without being elected. The other 28 delegates are elected by popular vote. The 28 elected delegates are divided between congressional districts - three for each district - and state-wide (at-large). A total of 112 candidates statewide are running for at-large delegate to the Republican National Convention.
Any questions regarding registration, or precinct locations can be directed to the clerk's office, 304-424-1860, any reports of potential election law violations can be reported to the prosecutor's office, 304-424-1776.