By Shawn Stinson
The vast majority of voters in the Town of Franklin did not take advantage of nearly two weeks of early voting, following a trend in the county and state from May’s primary election.
Early voting was designed to permit registered voters to head to the polls and cast their ballots to avoid the rush of an election day.
Town officials said seven residents took advantage of early voting in Franklin. Early voting was scheduled from June 1 to 11 in the town office. Frank Wehrle, town manager, said, “There were 22 residents who cast their ballots during the early voting period in the 2020 election.”
Wehrle estimated there are approximately 300 registered voters eligible to cast a ballot in town elections. The percentage of residents casting a ballot during this year’s early voting period is 2.3%, compared to 7.3% in the 2020 election.
The early voting percentage this year from the Town of Franklin is slightly better than the voting from the primary election on May 10. Pendleton County officials said there were 102 votes cast during the early voting period from April 27 to May 7. There are 4,862 registered voters in the county.
The percentage of county residents casting a ballot during the early voting period for the primary election was 2.1%. The West Virginia Secretary of State website lists there were a total of 535 ballots cast in Pendleton County in the primary election. The percentage of votes cast during the early voting period compared to the total ballots was 19%.
According to a May 4 MetroNews article, county clerks across the state were reporting low early voting numbers. Vera McCormick, Kanawa County clerk, cited off-year elections “are always much slower” and it was a primary election.
Melanie Madden, Marshall County clerk, said that the daily number of early voters fluctuated between 35 and 132. Eric Strite, Hampshire County clerk, agreed with the fellow county clerks the early voting was slow. He added that he expected an average of 100 voters per day.
“It’s been fairly slow,” Strite said. “We’ve been averaging about 40 people a day.”
The Town of Franklin was scheduled to have its General Election on June 14. The members of the town council were expected to canvas the votes the following day and certify the election on June 17 in the town office.