BUCKHANNON – Just three days into the 10-day early voting period, more than 1,300 people in Upshur County have voted early in the Nov. 3, 2020 General Election.
As of 3 p.m. Oct. 23, 1,327 people had voted early during the early voting period, which began Wednesday, Oct. 21 and will run through Saturday Oct. 31.
Upshur County Clerk Carol Smith said in 2016, the Upshur County Clerk’s Office saw a total of about 3,150 early voters for the entire 10-day period.
“It is a lot higher than what we’ve ever had in the past,” Smith said. “All three days we’ve surpassed 400 voters each day; it’s going to be a huge turnout.”
She said they will most likely have new record numbers for early voting and her office has mailed out 1,737 absentee ballots so far. The last day to request an absentee ballot application is Oct. 28.
“If I’m going to be generous, we would mail out something less than 100 [absentee ballots], generally,” Smith said. “Normally, it’s anywhere from 40 to maybe 60, and the highest I ever remember, and I’ve been doing this for a while, was 168 and that was in 2004 or 2008 – somewhere in there.”
Smith said voters have consistently been coming in to vote, but the line was only long on the first day of voting.
“It’s been a steady stream,” Smith said. ‘I don’t think there’s been a time that there hasn’t been a voter in the hallway, either actually voting or getting checked in to vote or waiting to be checked in to vote, so it’s been very steady.”
The county clerk’s office has been supplying voters with pens that read, ‘I voted,’ which also have the county website listed and feature a stylus so voters can use it to vote without having to touch the voting machine.
“I think it was great to be able to use machines, and I think it works better than gloves,” Smith said. “It also has the upshurcounty.org website listed for those that don’t know what the county website is, and they can get access to every office in the courthouse there, so I think it served a double-duty purpose, and I was quite pleased to be able to do that.”
Smith said they are trying to make sure people are socially distanced, hand sanitizer is ‘on-hand,’ and workers are encouraging everyone to wear a mask.
“We’re asking, please wear your masks, but don’t wear political masks, hats and things of that nature,” Smith said. “We have gloves that people are more than welcome to use, and we ask you try to keep your distance as much as possible.”
Smith wanted to remind all voters the last day the county clerk’s office can accept absentee ballot applications is Oct. 28.
“If they don’t want to wait and do it through the mail, the quickest way to do it, is to do it on the online portal through the Secretary of State’s office,” Smith said.
People looking to conduct business at the county clerk’s office during early voting can expect to stand in line, and Smith recommends they try calling her office first.
“They need to be aware that there’s a good potential they may have to stand in line, and we don’t have much room in our office for people to be standing, so we’re limiting the number of people that are inside my office area at any given time,” Smith said. “You may have so stand in line outside on the steps until we can get you in the office, so my best advice is, give us a call, see if there’s something that we can do for you over the phone.”
“If we can mail you a certificate or whatever it is, we’ll do that,” she added, “or please call and say, ‘hey if I come in, can you schedule me an appointment?’ and we’ll try to keep those appointments as best as we can.”
Office hours for early voting are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays at the Upshur County Courthouse, 40 W. Main St.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 3 and Election Day hours start at 6:30 a.m., and the polls close at 7:30 p.m. Call the county clerk’s office at 304-472-1068 or visit www.govotewv.com for more information about voting in the Mountain State.