FAIRMONT — The redistricting conducted by the West Virginia State Legislature has had a big impact on Marion County.

The 2022 legislative session brought the end of West Virginia’s multi-member House of Delegates districts. The Mountain State stood alone with New Hampshire as the only two states to still have multiple state representatives per voting district.

With the shift to the new districts and single-member districts, the precincts for local elections have had to change too. According to Marion County Clerk Julie Kincaid, Charleston did a number on the precincts around Fairmont.

Where things get complicated is what addresses get city ballots. Previously, the district maps respected city boundaries, so specific districts received the city ballots and others didn’t. Now the new maps have lines without regard for city boundaries.

“These new maps just drew their lines everywhere,” Kincaid said. “We had to go back and redo all of that.”

Wednesday, the Marion County Commission signed a letter of intent to change the precincts. The official change and proposal will be presented at the commission’s next meeting on Sept. 7.

“All the voters who are affected will receive a new card in the mail,” Kincaid said. “Thankfully we have a great team at WVUGIS that we’ve worked with from the start and they’re really good at what they do.”

Since the changes were so far-reaching, Kincaid and her office had to go down to specific addresses and break it down by tax tickets to find who was eligible to receive a city ballot in this year’s and future elections.

While this issue sounds like a it’d be widespread, according to Kincaid, it has only cropped up in the larger counties and Marion County has been directly told that it is the most adversely affected.

Any voter who should have been eligible to receive a city ballot and did not receive a card saying so will be receiving a new card and a letter detailing the changes in the mail once the new maps are finalized and approved in September.

Marion Convention and Visitors Bureau

Wednesday, the commission also heard and update on the county’s tourism from Leisha Elliott, director of the Marion County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The commissioners were happy to hear that tourism is on the rise in the county after two years of largely no travel due to COVID-19.

“It’s been a much better year this year than it has been in the past. COVID really took a hit on our income so that’s coming back around,” Elliott said. “We have a lot of good campaigns we’re working on. We’re working on some activity guides like we did for the pepperoni rolls.”

New guides will detail historic stops about the Civil War, local history and outdoor recreation. The CVB is also continuing its current campaign showcasing the culinary variety in the county.

The bureau is also continuing its photo contest, where residents or visitors can submit photos taken in the county to be used on postcards or other promotional material.

“These have really been what we intended them for — to get people out in the community and see the different businesses they may not know about,” Elliott said.

The commissioners were appreciative of the work Elliott does to promote the county and its must-visit locations.

“It’s really good to heard that the CVB is having a good year, particularly after the hit it took from COVID,” Commission President Randy Elliott said. “I think we’re all glad to see COVID is heading behind us.”

Reach David Kirk at 304-367-2522 or by email at dkirk@timeswv.com.

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