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West Virginia Prepares for Primary with Early Voting

Early voting is underway in West Virginia as the state prepares for its primary on Tuesday. Election officials say they hope Berkeley County voters set a record this election season.
BERKELEY COUNTY, W. VA- Early voting is underway in West Virginia as the state prepares for its primary on Tuesday. Election officials say they hope Berkeley county voters set a record this election season.

For some Berkeley County residents, not voting isn't an option.

"I've not missed an election since I was 18 years of age," says Brad Slonaker, a lifelong resident.

"We have a rich family tradition of always voting," says Jim Staley, another lifelong resident. "I don't think I've ever missed an election."

But the county's chief deputy of elections says they're the exception, and the county's voting record is disappointing.

"In our last six elections we've had low turnout, and I'm not quite sure I understand what that's all about," says Bonnie Woodfall, the county's chief deputy of elections.

Election officials say there are 65,000 voters in Berkeley County. Roughly, ten to 12 percent will cast their vote, but they are hoping it will be much higher this primary season.

For some voters the primary carries more weight. They say it's these grassroots elections that have a direct impact on quality of life.

"Whether it be the sheriff or a magistrate, members of the county council, those are the people that touch are lives on a day-to-day basis, and this is probably where we can do the most good," says Staley.

And election officials say prepping for ten days of early voting is time consuming and costly.

"It is expensive," says Woodfall. "We have to pay early workers to be here. The ballots are generated because it's early."

Early voting will continue through Saturday. On primary day, polls will open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.
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