Early voting gets underway in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The first ballots are being cast in the General Election with early voting underway in West Virginia.

Polls opened Wednesday morning in all 55 counties. The 10-day early voting period runs through Saturday, Nov. 5.

Derek Blaney and his mother, both of Charleston, were among those to vote early at the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council building, a new precinct on the city’s West Side.

Blaney, a lifelong West Side resident, told MetroNews the location is more convenient compared to the downtown Voter Registration Office.

“I actually like it. My mom lives nearby so I can just get her here and back real quick. She’s disabled so if I went to the one downtown, I got to find proper parking and then I got to find a way to get her to walk all the way around certain areas,” Blaney said.

The new precinct was approved earlier this year by the Kanawha County Commission after receiving push back from some local Republicans.

Blaney said they like to vote early so they can avoid the crowds and make their voices heard.

“My mom is an avid person about voting and I’m the same way. Since I turned 18, it’s a civic duty. Got to do it. Plus you want to be able to impact your local community,” he said.

One of the most popular local races in Charleston is the mayoral race between incumbent Democrat Amy Shuler Goodwin and Republican Lance Wolfe.

Blaney said he voted to keep Goodwin as mayor for another term.

“I’m going Amy even though I’m not 100 percent her fan, but this other guy wanting to criminalize people being homeless? It’s like come on now, let’s have a heart,” he said.

On a statewide level, there are four constitutional amendments on the ballot. Amendment 2 has been the most talked about, especially by Gov. Jim Justice who has been traveling the state voicing his opposition to it. Amendment 2 would allow the state Legislature to remove personal property taxes.

Amendment 1 would clarify that the judiciary has no sway over the legislative branch’s impeachment powers.

Amendment 3 asks voters if churches should be allowed to incorporate.

Amendment 4 would give the Legislature more oversight of the state Department of Education’s rules and policies.

Blaney said he’s a “no” vote on a lot of those amendments especially Amendment 4.

Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes

“I have a kid in school so I understand how important it is, especially with people making everything political. I mean, books are good,” he said.

Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes said the amount of voters they saw as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday was “average” for a midterm election.

“We did 96 in the very first hour with just a little over 200 voters so far this morning,” Rhodes said on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Not only does early voting benefit voters wanting to avoid long lines. Rhodes said it also lightens the load for poll workers dealing with crowds on Election Day.

“Trying to get the number of poll workers that we need to keep the precincts open, if we didn’t have early voting, there’s no way that the precincts could handle that volume of traffic,” he said.

The county courthouse or its annex in each county serves as an early voting location. During weekdays, early voting will take place at the same time that the county’s courthouse is open. On Saturdays, early voting locations will be open from 9 a.m to 5 p.m.

A complete list of early voting sites can be found at GoVoteWV.com.

Election Day is Nov. 8th. MetroNews will provide live, continuous coverage of the election starting at 7:06 p.m. Results will be posted in real time at wvmetronews.com.

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