The Times West Virginian

Opinion

October 25, 2012

Early voting means there’s no excuse for not visiting polls

Early voting is now under way. It is better called “no-excuse” voting. Either way, though, it means the same thing.

The “early” or “no-excuse” voting began yesterday at county courthouses and courthouse annexes across West Virginia and will continue until 5 p.m. on Nov. 3. A voting location has been established in Mannington this year for the convenience of voters in that end of the county.

The early voting period includes two Saturdays, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3. There will be no early voting on Sunday, Oct. 28.

Voting hours will be from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at both Fairmont and Mannington locations Monday-Friday and 9 a.m - 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Citizens can check the hours of early voting in their county on the secretary of state’s website at www.wvsos.com.

Election Day is Nov. 6. And even though most West Virginians will be more than ready for the 2012 election to be behind us, it is still everyone’s civic or moral duty to visit their courthouse or polling place.

The 2012 political campaigns have been long ones.

We believe early voting is a popular option for West Virginians. In the 2008 General Election, more than 153,000 people voted during the early voting period. That was almost 22 percent of all of the votes cast in that election — a fairly representative amount.

Even though the early voting period has been shortened since then, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Marion County native, expects voter turnout to be strong.

“This is a once-every-four-years election. Americans will be choosing their president, our delegation to Washington, our state leaders and our local leaders,” she said.

Tennant reminds us even though this is the seventh statewide election since May of 2010, she is confident that the people of West Virginia will go to the polls to help decide the direction our state and nation will go.

“There can be no such thing as voter fatigue when the issues facing us are so important,” she said.

Tennant also released voter registration totals for the General Election, and there are almost two Democrats for every Republican registered to vote in West Virginia.

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 a ballot in the 2012 General Election.

The “no-excuse” voting gives people an opportunity to cast their votes two weeks ahead of time. People who will be out of town, are facing a medical procedure, have no ride for election day or simply find it more convenient to cast their ballot early can now choose another day during that two-week period at a courthouse or polling place.

Early voting should make it possible for most of Marion Countians to visit the polls. Those who fail to vote have no real excuse.

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