With early voting under way, WV gears up for Election Day - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

With early voting under way, WV gears up for Election Day

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After months of getting revved up by non-stop ads and debates, the time has come for voters to take to their ballots.

Early voting in West Virginia started Oct. 24, and it runs through 5 p.m. Nov. 3, excluding Sunday, Oct. 28.

Jake Glance, director of communications for the secretary of state's office, said Oct. 23 the office has become well-versed in elections.

Glance said there are 910 days from the 2010 Primary Election to the 2012 General Election, and in that time, West Virginia has had seven statewide elections, which evens out to an election every 130 days or every four months.

Glance said the office will have the same plan in place that it's executed the past seven elections, and they've seen — repeatedly — how it works.

Times and locations differ by county, and the votes that are cast early are counted on Election Day, along with absentee votes.

The deadline to register for this election was Oct. 16. According to the Statewide Voter Registration System, 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 are eligible to cast their ballots in the 2012 General Election, which is Nov. 6, for a total of 1,246,559 registered statewide voters. That breaks down to 51.38 percent of the voters for this election registered as Democrats and 28.77 percent registered as Republicans.

According to Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who is up for re-election herself, early voting is popular in West Virginia.

More than 153,000 people voted during the early voting period of 2008, making up nearly 22 percent of the votes cast in that election. Turnout for the 2008 General Election was 58.7 percent.

Tennant issued a reminder Oct. 22 that first-time voters will need to present a valid ID that shows their current address, such as a driver's license or other photo ID, government check, paycheck or any other document that shows the voter's name and current address.

Voters can check their polling places and see sample ballots at www.wvsos.com.

As for getting people to the polls, the two major parties have specific plans.

On the Democratic side, candidates have been on the ground, walking and waving in nearly every parade and county fair. The entire ticket has been promoted in area door-to-door visits along with ticket-wide turnout at several county Democratic Headquarters each hosting ribbon-cutting celebrations.

Younger volunteers such as the Cabell County Young Democrats have been filling phone banks and throughout the state, fundraiser dinners and picnics have dotted the calendars, and each of these grassroots efforts have been documented through social media, filling the party's Facebook page and Twitter feed, blending old with new techniques.

Conrad Lucas, chairman of the WVGOP, said the Republican Party's focus has been on grassroots efforts, and by mid-October, he said the party had made more than 200,000 contacts statewide.

"There were smaller versions of this in place before," Lucas said. "About 10 or 12 years ago when West Virginia was a target state, the Bush campaign put in a lot of money, but this year, funding is largely on our own, and it's been tremendous this year."

Lucas said the personal touch is one thing in politics that will never change, and in the current age of social media, those handshakes and phone calls are "almost innovative."