Board says election pace slow this year

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, October 12, 2011

With hours before the books closed on voter registration for the upcoming election, the county board of elections office Tuesday was non-stop with activity, from candidates checking the absentee ballot turndown book to first-time voters wanting to sign up.

Yet the pace was slower than in elections past for some things, according to Eric Bradshaw, deputy director.

“There are more candidates running and that usually generates more absentees,” he said.

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However since Oct. 4, the first day allowed for absentee voting, only 50 have come into the office to cast a ballot. And so far 1,800 absentee applications have been processed.

“It’s way down,” Bradshaw said. “If this were a presidential election, we would be three times that.”

Absentee ballot applications can be mailed out until noon Nov. 5, the Saturday before the general election. Ballots mailed out at that time must be postmarked the day before the election or Nov. 7 to be counted or may be brought in in person on election day. If they are mailed, they can be received at the courthouse up to 10 days following Nov. 7, as long as they have the correct postmark. That also applies to the military and those who are overseas.

However voter registration is up compared to figures for the general election 2010. From Aug. 1 to Tuesday morning there have been 616 new voter registrations. Cutoff for registration was Tuesday at 9 p.m. That compares with that same time frame last year when there were 220 new registrations. But there are more races on the ballots.

“Last year there were only two county offices up — auditor and county commission,” Bradshaw said. “There are 130 candidates running (this fall).”

Right now voter totals are at 42,456 countywide.

And for almost half of the races showing up to vote won’t make or break the outcome. Of the 56 races there are 25 with no opposition. Either there is only one candidate running for the post or if multiple seats are up such as on a council, only the minimum of candidates needed to fill the spots are on the ballot.

Most of those are township offices, except for Ironton school board, South Point Village Council, Hanging Rock village clerk/treasurer and council, Proctorville clerk/treasurer and Chesapeake clerk/treasurer.

“I think people are just fed up with how the government works right now,” Bradshaw said. “That is just a guess. You don’t hear anything good on television.”