LOGAN, W.Va. — There appears to be a growing interest by Logan Countians in the upcoming Primary Election, as Logan County Clerk John A. Turner reports there is already a significant increase in voter registration with over two months left for residents of the county to place their names on the poll books by registering.
According to Turner, there are 26,884 people currently registered in the county, already a significant increase of 1,755 potential voters from the last presidential election of four years ago.
There has been a dramatic increase in those persons either registering as Independent voters or changing their registrations from Democrat or Republican to the Independent Party. In 2012, there were 1,746 registered Independent voters. Already, there now are 3,766 Independent registered voters, an increase of 2,020.
On the Democratic side, there has been a decrease of 220 registered voters from 2012 to now—from 20,405 to 20,185. Republican registered voters in the county has climbed from 2,399 four years ago to 2,885 currently; an increase of 486 people, most likely a backlash result of the so called “War on Coal” that has been attributed to the President Obama administration.
Turner said there is some confusion by potential voters when it comes to their registration and when they go to vote. “Voters need to know that if they switch to another party, say from Democrat to Republican, that person can only vote for Republican candidates. It works the same way if a Republican switches to a Democratic registered voter.”
A spokesperson in Turner’s office also explained that there is confusion when it comes to registering as an Independent, or non-partisan, voter. “When the person registered as an Independent goes to the polls to vote in the Primary Election, that voter must request a ballot from one of the three recognized parties — Democrat, Republican or Mountain Party. They cannot vote for candidates in all three parties. We try to explain that to each person who registers as an Independent voter.”
If a Primary Election ballot is not requested from one of the three parties, the Independent voter will only receive a non-partisan ballot. This does not apply to the General Election.
With a declining economic crisis looming in southern West Virginia, and a divided government in both Charleston and Washington D.C., it appears the upcoming May 10th election, which features several local, state and national offices at stake—including the United States Presidency—could mean a significant increase in Primary Election voting in Logan County.
The deadline to register to vote in West Virginia is April 19th.