POINT PLEASANT — In an election year that has been anything but typical, so far, the early voting turnout in Mason County is breaking records.
Early voting began on Wednesday which saw 391 ballots casts, followed by 366 cast on Thursday and just over 400 cast as of 4 p.m. Friday, according to Mason County Clerk Diana Cromley and her staff. This means, in just three days of early voting, 1,157 people have already voted.
To put that in perspective, during the early voting period for the May Primary, a total of 558 people cast ballots in the first three days of early voting, and at the end of the early voting period for the primary, 1,780 ballots had been cast, total, according to Cromley’s staff. There are still seven days of early voting left in the general election and if this trend of high voter turnout continues, early voting records could easily be broken in Mason County.
“The early voter turnout has met and exceeded our numbers from the past,” Cromley said. “We are anticipating setting a record for early voter turnout and on election day.”
The interest in casting ballots has been so intense, there has not only been a line to get into the early voting room (where there are six machines) but there have been lines to get into the actual courthouse. Richard Rainey with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department and Home Confinement Office, helps with courthouse security. On Friday at 4:15 p.m., Rainey said 498 people had already passed through the metal detector to enter the building in just one day.
Cromley’s office staff said the interest in the general election was also reflected in the requests for absentee ballots of which there were around 191 on Friday with Nov. 2 being the last day to request one. In the entire May Primary, there were only 113 absentee voters.
“It’s terrific to see voter participation,” Cromley added.
As for early voting, it takes place 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through Nov. 5. Early voting takes places on the second floor of the Mason County Courthouse in the county commission room.
Voters in Mason County will be deciding the following races:
President: GOP ticket Donald J. Trump, Michael R. Pence; Democrat ticket Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine; Liberatrian ticket Gary Johnson, Bill Weld; Mountain Party ticket Jill Stein, Ajamu Baraka; Constitution Party ticket Darrell L. Castle, Scott N. Bradley. House of representatives, third congressional district: Evan Jenkins, (R-Huntington); Matt Detch (D-Lewisburg); Zane Lawhorn (Lib-Princeton).
Governor: Bill Cole (R-Blufield); Jim Justice (D-Lewisburg); David Moran (Lib-Eglon); Charlotte Jean Pritt (Mtn-Charleston); Phil Hudok (CST-Huttonsville). Secretary of State: Mac Warner (R-Morgantown); Natalie Tennant (D-Charleston); John S. Buckley (Lib-Mathias). Auditor: John “JB” McCuskey (R-Charleston); Mary Ann Claytor (D-St. Albans); Brenton Ricketts (Lib-Harpers Ferry). Treasurer: Ann Urling (R-Charleston); John D. Perdue (D-Cross Lanes); Michael Allen Young (Lib-Nitro). Commissioner of Agriculture: Ken Leonhardt (R-Fairview); Walt Helmick (D-Marlinton): Buddy A. Guthrie (Lib-Morgantown). Attorney General: Patrick Morrisey (R-Harpers Ferry); Doug Reynolds (D-Huntington); Karl Kolenich (Lib-Buckhannon); Michael Sharley (Mtn-Westover).
State senator, fourth district: Mitch B. Carmichael (R-Ripley); Brian Prim (D-Fraziers Bottom). House of delegates, 14th district: Jim Butler (R-Gallipolis Ferry); Samantha Ann Fooce (D-Point Pleasant). House of delegates, 13th district: Joshua Kurt Higginbotham (R-Poca); Michael Ihle (R-Ravenswood); Rosalee Juba-Plumley (D-Poca); Scott Brewer (D-New Haven) – the two candidates with the highest vote totals will represent the 13th district.
Circuit clerk: Bill Withers (D-Ashton). County commissioner: Sam Nibert (R-Gallipolis Ferry); Rick Pearson (D-Mason). County clerk: Diana Cromley, (D-Point Pleasant). Prosecuting Attorney: Ronald “RF” Stein, Jr. (R-Gallipolis Ferry). Sheriff: Curtis “Curt” McConihay (R-Point Pleasant); Greg Powers (D-Point Pleasant). Assessor: Ron Hickman (R-Point Pleasant); Mark “Sparky” Villars (Independent-Point Pleasant).
In addition, voters will be deciding an EMS operating levy which will fund EMS operations in the county.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.