PARKERSBURG - Polls opened at 6:30 this morning and will remain open until 7:30 tonight.
Final voter registration totals for Wood County show 55,343 including 21,005 Democrats; 21,929 Republicans; 11,898 registered as no party, and others 511.
According to the secretary of state's office, there are 1,246,559 voters in West Virginia registered for the general election; 640,532 Democrats, 358,655 Republicans, 1,385 Mountain, 222,016 people registered with no party affiliation, and 23,971 people registered with another political party.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Wood County Clerk Jamie Six, left, glances at a text message while Deputy Clerk Mark Rhodes mentions all cars in the tent had received voting machines Monday at the Wood County Courthouse in Parkersburg as precinct workers picked up supplies for today's election.
A total of 11,715 voters turned out for early voting at the downtown location and four community voting sites. The four community sites, which opened Oct. 30, were located at Williamstown City Building; Vienna City Building; Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department, and Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department. The downtown early vote precinct opened Oct. 24.
Wood County Clerk Jamie Six said the early vote turnout exceeded expectations.
"We were very pleased with early vote turnout. There were even more people than we had hoped for and the turnout at the community vote sites went even better than in the primary. Those numbers will also help today go smoother, that that many people have already voted," Six said.
There is only one change in the voting precincts, this is a permanent change. Due to state redistricting of delegate districts and issues with a precinct locale, the county earlier created one new precinct.
Clerk's office staff said signs will be posted at the former precinct voting location and affected voters have also been notified by letter.
After delegate redistricting, there was a pocket of voters created between the 8th and 10th Delegate districts. The clerk's office created a new precinct, designated 41U, with the U standing for unincorporated. 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.
County officials asked for a waiver on the number of voters since the newly proposed precinct did not meet the minimum voter requirement. The clerk's office looked at a number of options for moving voting precincts 41/41U and 42 from Grand Pointe Conference Center and ended up deciding on the Vienna Library.
Voters going to the polls today will be deciding Vienna and Parkersburg races, a proposed Wood County Library levy as well as a proposal that would do away with the two-term limit for county sheriffs. Voters will also choose their presidential candidate, and vote on U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, governor, secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer, commissioner of agriculture, attorney general, supreme court justices, state senator, House of Delegates, and locally vote on county commission, sheriff, and magistrate races. The assessor, prosecutor, and surveyor are unopposed on the ballot.
West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said Friday that reports of "UN Election Observers" being allowed inside polling places on Election Day are untrue, and that election officials around the state know the law when it comes to who is permitted inside the polling place. West Virginia State Code says only voters, pollworkers, employees of the county clerk's Office, employees of the secretary of state's office, and employees of the county prosecuting attorney's office are allowed inside the polling place.
Tennant said there were election observers in West Virginia last month during preparations for the election. They were with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, of which the United States was a founding member. The observers were learning about processes such as poll worker training, the packaging of precinct kits and the public testing of machines. The election observers who were in West Virginia are now in Ohio, observing the election there.
Tennant met with the observers on Oct. 17 at the State Capitol. The observers, Andrew McEntee of the United Kingdom and Kirsten Mogensen of Denmark, were informed of the law prohibiting them from entering polling places and expressed their intention to follow the law.
"There are those who would spread these rumors and try to undermine the confidence in our election process," Tennant said. "I personally have spoken with several concerned citizens today and told them the truth about what is happening. There will be no observers in our polling places on Election Day," Tennant said.
If a voter witnesses something they believe is a violation of election law, they can contact the secretary of state's office at 304-558-6000 or 1-866-767-8683.
Any questions regarding precinct locations should be directed to the voter registration office of the county clerk, 304-424-1860, reports of potential election law violations can also be reported to the prosecutor's office, 304-424-1776.