The Logan County Clerk’s office has been a busy place for the past several weeks as Logan Countians have consistently either registered or changed their political party affiliations in preparation for the upcoming May 10th Primary Election, which has drawn considerable interest both on the national, state and local levels. Thanks to updated computerization and online registration, County Clerk John Turner’s staff has maintained an efficient office; perhaps the reason for his lack of opposition in this year’s election.
Unlike Kanawha and Cabell counties where the county clerks there have made potential voters fill out paper forms, the Logan office has had “hundreds” of people register over the internet, according to employee, Sharon Robinette, who said many voters have been changing their voter registration from Democrat to Republican, as well as to Independent and to what is labeled as “No-Party.”
Although some registrations which were done by mail may still trickle into the clerk’s office, the official count for registered voters in Logan County is 27,327. An influx of democratic registrations toward the final day may have signaled a late push by local democratic candidates. The number of democratic registered voters in the county is now 19,873, believed to be the first time it has been below the 20,000 mark since the early 1900’s. There now are 3,254 Republicans in the county; 1,500 Independents and 2,659 Non-Party people. There are also 25 people registered as Libertarians and 16 persons who claim the Mountain Party.
Statistics reveal that Striker precinct at Chapmanville has the most registered voters with a total of 1,585, followed by Mineral City in the Triadelphia district with 1,422. Next is Layne precinct at Chapmanville with 1,276 registered, and Mitchell Heights with 1,242. It should be noted that for the past several years Mill Creek residents have voted at Mitchell Heights, which accounts for that number. Bulwark, which is the Harts Creek area, has 1,177 voters, followed by Switzer with 1,163; Chapmanville City with 1,150; Accoville, 1,145, and Central City in the town of Logan with 1,023 registered voters.
Due to ridiculous boundary changes at Chapmanville and the Whitman and Holden areas, the statistics are somewhat misleading as some voters have to vote for delegates in Lincoln County at Chapmanville, while some Holden and Whitman voters must choose between Mingo County delegates. In some cases, residents whose neighbors may live directly across the road from the other do not have the same delegate candidates to vote for. It is a situation that has created much confusion and can make a difference in some very close delegate races. Whitman precinct has a total of 958 voters, while Verdunville is slightly higher with 980 and Christian precinct near Man follows closely with 975 registered voters.
Main Holden precinct, which has 793 voters, combined with Price Bottom precinct’s 655, which includes voters from Holden and the Shamrock-Cora area, totals 1,148 eligible voters. The smallest precinct in the county is now Justice Addition with 304 voters, followed by Earling with 323.
To add to the confusion which I expect on Election Day, some voters who changed their registration to Republican will not be able to vote for candidates for some important democratic offices due to no Republicans being on the local ballot. In addition, Independent and No-Party registered voters must choose either a Democrat ballot or a Republican ballot when they go to the polls. From every indication, many of the voters who have chosen that route are doing so to vote for Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. In so doing, many Democratic candidates for offices like the Circuit Clerk, House of Delegates and even State Senate will lose potential votes. However, all voters can vote for the non-partisan offices of Judge, Magistrate and Board of Education.
Despite all of the increased campaigning on the local level, which is indicated by the large amount of political signs spread throughout the county, the number of people who actually cast their votes in recent elections has simply not been what it used to be. Still, with widely disputed races on the local level and the controversial presidential nominees, a 50 percent turnout in the county would not be surprising. However, the facts are that during the 2012 presidential election only about 53 percent of registered voters in West Virginia voted. The figures were even less in Logan County.
What must be stressed more than anything else in the upcoming event is that because of the Legislature passing the voter ID bill, it is important to remember that voters should take with them to the polls some sort of voter identification such as a driver’s license or other identification. Poll workers, however, are not being required to ask for identification if the worker already knows who the voter is.
One should always remember that voting is more than a privilege. It is a right—one of many—that Logan County men and women have over the years fought and died for.
When I turned 18 years-old October 2nd 1971, I was a student at Marshall University. That same day I bought a Trailways bus ticket to Logan for $2.25 and registered to vote. A friend drove me back to Huntington that same day.
To me, voting is an honor. Please vote WISELY for the candidates of your choice.
BITS and PIECES
While on the subject of elections, I saw where the Koch brothers have donated $100,000 to the campaign of Republican Bill Cole, the car salesman who is seeking to be governor of our state…..I think it’s interesting when billionaires donate to millionaires, especially when our state’s economy is floundering…..just think, Cole, who is unopposed, will be the rich candidate for the Republicans, and if Jim Justice, the state’s only billionaire, wins the democratic nomination, then their spending on advertisement alone in seeking the Governor’s office might bring us out of our recession…..Lord, I wish I could win the lottery…..I was sorry to hear of the passing of Joy Childers, 81, of Verdunville…..I remember Joy when she was secretary for Logan Circuit Judge Harvey Oakley, who I happened to like…..I remember once when I was going to Huntington to cover a Logan basketball game as a Logan Banner sport reporter…..I was traveling with then Logan High School Athletic Director Jimmy Joe Willis, Denny (Trader) Frost, who was with WLOG radio back then, and Earl Lambert, who was editor of The Banner and also did some sports broadcasting…..Jimmy Joe, who was a member of the Logan Country Club, wanted to stop at the club before we proceeded up Route 10 to Huntington…..I always carried my Canon brand camera with me, with a strap across my shoulder…..so that Friday afternoon when we strolled into the club, I had my camera in plain view…..at a table in the country club were seated both Logan County Circuit Judges, Oakley and Judge Naaman Aldredge, who I also liked, and their wives…..now, both judges were to known to enjoy their drink, so to speak, and I suppose the sight of my camera to them meant a picture in the newspaper of the foursome at the table…..so when I turned around toward the distinguished group, one of them, I think fearing the worst, got a little excited and knocked a drink over which created a chain reaction at the table…..I hustled out the front door, knowing they were embarrassed, as was I…..speaking of memories, stop and think: when was the last time you prepared popcorn the old fashioned way?…..remember, a little oil and shaking the pot on the stove…..since scientists have shown that microwave popcorn causes cancer in mice, it might be a good idea to show your children or grandchildren how to fix the stuff the right way; odds are they will enjoy doing so, just like we did…..what do you think about the government removing former President Andrew Jackson from the $10 dollar bill because he owned slaves?…..I don’t mind who they replaced him with, but in visiting Mount Vernon and Monticello, the home of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, I can tell that both of them also owned slaves…..think about the names for a minute, Washington and Jefferson…..many blacks were named after their so called masters, and others carry their blood line…..QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I’ve been a Democrat for 53 years, but I’m not going to vote for Hillary.”—a lady I did not know, but overheard recently in the clerk’s office explaining why she was changing her voter’s registration…..congratulations goes out to the Logan High School Journalism classes for recently winning 1st place honors as WLHS and as the Wildcat News…..have you heard about the New Jersey bill that is going to make it a crime to text while walking?…..yep, legislators there say there has been a marked increase in young people walking into oncoming automobiles or walking into posts and parking meters in that state due to people texting while walking…..DID YOU KNOW that if the legislature cannot come up with the funding to close the state’s $430 million budget gap, among many things which will happen is that at least 87 State Troopers will be laid off?…..what bothers me is that even if they fix the budget gap, which they ought to do to help by reinstating the one-cent food sales tax, what about the following year?…..wonder why Colorado suddenly comes to mind?…..wonder if they have any raw milk in the Rockies?…..baseball fans should know that Cincinnati Reds reliever/starting pitcher, Dan Straily, is a Marshall University product, and so far, is faring well in Cincy…..FINAL NOTE: It won’t be long (May 1st) until anybody and just about everybody can carry a gun without a license in good old West Virginia. Just keep in mind that the next time you scream, yell or honk your horn at the young lady that just about slammed into you head-on while she was on her cell phone or texting just might turn her vehicle around and come back and put a bullet in you. Just saying, be careful with your road rage.
Dwight Williamson is a contributing writer and a former reporter for The Logan Banner. He currently serves as a Logan County Magistrate.