MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — We all know how fast West Virginia’s eastern panhandle is growing. That has implications for how we go to the polls at election time.
Thousands more will be going to the polls in Berkeley County this year. Remember those long lines at the polls, even for early voting, in the fall 2020 elections? Berkeley County is going through growing pains.
“We’re projecting that our population will grow another 10,000 in the next couple years with the possibility before the next census we might have to redo some precinct lines in probably the next five,” said Elaine Mauck, Berkeley County Clerk.
Remember those long lines at the polls? That’s why Mauck has asked the county council to provide voters with more precinct locations this year. And with all this growth, Mauck is keeping her eye on ballot security.
“We have all new voting machines, 80 voting machines,” said Mauck. “They’re all computerized but they’re all self-contained so they’re not able to be impacted by someone hacking from the outside.”
Unlike the elections in 2020, there will be more than just one early voting location.
“We’re going to have three locations, at Beddington Fire Hall for the North end. For the south end, it will be Inwood fire station and downtown Martinsburg at the Dunn Building,” Mauck said.
At the county courthouse, Mauck sees firsthand the impact of all the new residents.
“We are growing so fast I think that we are putting out, like, a hundred addresses a week and our transfer fees for property selling — it’s been astronomical,” Mauck explained.
Adding even more political clout to the eastern panhandle region of the Mountain State. The primary election in West Virginia this year is in May.
Berkeley County is West Virginia’s fastest-growing county. In five years it is projected to be the state’s largest, surpassing Kanawha in the south-central part of the state, where Charleston, the state capital, is located.