Elections, Government, Latest News, Preston County

Preston voter turnout up from May 2018 Primary

KINGWOOD — Preston had an estimated voter turnout of 46.73% Tuesday.

And ballots from some of the county’s 19,466 registered voters are still coming in, County Clerk Linda Huggins said Wednesday.

Absentee ballots postmarked by election day will be counted in the canvass. About 700 of the 5,182 absentee ballots her office mailed out have not been returned, she said. In a typical year, 150-180 absentee ballots would be issued in Preston.

“Actually today we received ballots that were postmarked Saturday,” she said Wednesday. “So I expect there may be ballots in the next few days.”

There are 17-21 provisional ballots from early voting and absentee voting to be considered. Other provisional ballots occurred at the polls election day. All will be looked at during the canvass next week.

Provisional ballots may be cast by people who requested and received an absentee ballot but then came to early voting or the polls without bringing the absentee ballot to be destroyed. Provisional ballots can also be issued to people registered in a different precinct than where they voted or who are not registered.

“I think we had a lot of turnout for our sheriff’s race and our magistrate’s race,” Huggins said.

According to The Dominion Post archives, in the May 2018 primary, turnout was 42.32%, the third highest county in the state. In the November 2016 general election, 69% of Preston’s registered voters cast ballots. And in the 1996 general election, there was a record 71% turnout.

Work at the polls and the vote count election night went pretty smoothly, despite the new voting machines and counter. Preston had all 28 precincts in by 10:30 p.m.

By fall, Huggins said, poll workers will be more familiar with the equipment and the paperwork that goes with it.

Is there anything she’d like to change for the November election?

“We had to send out all this PPE and cleaning supplies, and I hope I don’t have to pack that in the fall,” the clerk said.

The county commission will begin the canvass at 1 p.m. Monday and continue on Tuesday. So far, the commission office said, it has not received any requests for a recount.

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