Early voting in West Virginia has broken records in the 2016 election cycle with numbers surpassing historical data for both the primary and general elections in years past.
According to data provided by the Secretary of State’s office, 220,275 voters cast early ballots in the 2016 general election. The early voting period ended Saturday, Nov. 5.
During the 2012 general election, there were 150,666 early voters. In 2008, there 153,096 West Virginians cast early ballots.
This year’s primary election in May also yielded record breaking numbers, with 100,926 ballots cast early. In 2012’s primary that number was 46,833 early votes. The 2008 primary, 57,553 West Virginians voted early.
Early voting in West Virginia began in the 2002 election cycle. This year’s 10-day early voting period broke records despite being reduced from a 20-day period in the 2010 election cycle.
“As we near the end of this election cycle, it is clear that West Virginians are excited about voting,” Secretary of State Natalie Tennant said in a Monday news release.
“Early voting is convenient and gives voters with busy schedules more opportunities to cast a ballot. I am pleased to see such record-breaking turnout, and hope West Virginians continue that momentum by getting out and setting even more voter turnout records on Election Day.”
In a breakdown of early votes cast by registrants for each party, the Secretary of State's Office reports 98,547 Democrats, 81,263 Republicans, 613 Libertarians, 184 Mountain Party members and 33,173 ballots by voters with no party affiliation were cast during the early voting period.
The county’s with the highest percentage of registered voters casting early ballots are:
- Monongalia: 30.76%
- Wood: 29.12%
- Upshur: 27.19%
- Randolph: 25.27%
- Mercer: 24.18%