RANSON, W.Va. (WDVM) — West Virginia’s primary election is two weeks from Tuesday and there’s a sense that Mountain State voters are not letting the pandemic stand between them and the ballot box.
The coronavirus pushed the primary ahead one month. But at stake are the governor’s office, nominees in three congressional seats, justices on the state supreme court and a host of offices at the county and local level. Those paying careful attention to voting already underway think COVID-19 is not dampening any enthusiasm for exercising one’s civic duty.
“I think that we’re going to have a voter turnout that surprises people,” says Delegate Larry D. Kump (R – Berkeley, Morgan). “There’s a little over a million voters registered in West Virginia. Over 19% of those voters have already requested an absentee ballot. And over nine percent of them have voted already. I think our vote turnout this year is going to be higher than ever before.”
Insight shared by a counterpart from across the aisle: “I know the numbers as of last week were really encouraging,” says Aneesh Sompalli, chairman of the Berkeley County Democratic Party. “A lot of voters are choosing to vote absentee. That’s great because there are a lot of high risk populations in the state, folks that are older, that may have some [health concerns] that would put them at risk if they were in public settings. So while traditional voting avenues are still going to be available it’s good that people are choosing to absentee vote when possible.”
The 2020 campaign year is defined by a pandemic. But voters know a lot is riding on the ballots they cast.
The primary election was originally scheduled for May 12.
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