High turnout for Charleston precincts

Cassie Buchman, News Editor

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As the official Election Day came to Charleston and voters saw an end to an unconventional political season, many made their opinions noted by voting in areas around the community.

Some precincts saw higher voter turnout throughout Election Day.

Election Judge Wanda Pierce found that this was the case in precinct one.

“It’s not very often we have this high of a vote,” she said. “There’s so much controversy (in the presidential race) — it makes a difference.”

Election judge Andy Cerven of the 18th precinct said out of 1,000 registered voters in that area, 270 had voted by noon.

“Plus, we’ve had over 100 absentee ballots and early voting, so that’s a pretty good percentage already,” Cerven said.

He anticipated it getting busier still in the evening after people left work.

By 12:20 p.m., the 15th precinct had about 64 people vote. Election Judge Jeri Hughes said this was a pretty good number for that early in the day.

“We usually see 64 at four or five in the afternoon,” Hughes said. “This is a much better turnout; more students in the precinct are showing up.”

A lot of this has to do with who is running and what they are running for, Hughes said.

“I think the students want to be a part of it for a change,” she said.

People have also taken advantage of early and absentee voting.

“I’m really happy people are turning out,” she said. “I think it’s going to continue.”

Election Judge Judy Rankin said the 12th precinct had the largest voter turnout she has seen in several years.

She said she thought it would be high because of the hype of the election.

“This is the best turnout we’ve had,” she said.

Rankin attributed some of this turnout to the availability of same-day registration.

“Some people just forget,” she said. “Especially students, and we need young kids’ voices.”

Rankin said what also helped is having people who are more interested in what the government wants to do.

“I think this might wake them up a little bit, that they need to get up and vote instead of sitting in a chair gritching about it,” she said. “I hope this gives everyone a wakeup call — we need people to voice their opinions and get their votes in.”

To help students do this, English professor Michael Kuo drove 13 of his students to the polls so they could register and vote.

“I teach freshmen, and sometimes they need encouragement,” Kuo said.

Though first-year students may sometimes need an extra push, Kuo noticed more student turnout than any election he has experienced in the past.

“Every time I have been (to the courthouse), there’s been dozens of students. It’s awesome,” Kuo said.

Charleston resident Jason Skaggs has voted every year since he was 18.

Skaggs, who is now 41, said he has done this because he wants “the right people” to be elected.

“We need to get out of the economic downfall we’re in,” Skaggs said.

What he wants to see from local and national candidates is for them to bring business back to the country and control their spending.

Though it was not hard for him to decide who to vote for, he said he has never seen the options for president so bad before.

“I would rather have people who did not make it up there,” Skaggs said. “There are better candidates out there.”

Kaitlyn Ebert, a sophomore public relations major, was also not fond of either of the presidential candidates.

Though she is partisan to one side and voted along party lines for every other race, Ebert did something different for the presidential race.

“I voted independent,” she said. “I’ve never done that before.”

Ebert, who said she could not support either candidate during her first time voting, actually found it “kind of a struggle.”

“I liked the vice president candidates more than the presidential ones,” she said.

Charleston resident Mike Drake came to the courthouse wanting to vote for Republican nominee Donald Trump.

“I wanted him to win,” Drake said. “He wants to try to change things.”

Locally, Drake wants to see college enrollment pick up and more funding for Eastern.

“I don’t know how many millions of dollars are not funded by state,” he said.

Some had a simpler reason for voting.

Charleston resident Jeremiah Snyder came to vote because his wife said to.

“She told me I’d better get up (to the courthouse) and do it,” he said.

Snyder still felt pretty good about voting.

“Hopefully, I end up getting what I voted for,” he said.

 

Molly Dotson contributed to this article.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]