MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — West Virginia’s primary election is not until May but county election clerks are working diligently to get voters registered.
Berkeley County Elections Chief, Donnie Plotner, says he is seeing a surge in registration and also a lot of party changing. Since December alone, he says, there have been 500 new registrations.
This is a big election year with the presidential race on the ballot, along with the governor, Board of Public Works, state supreme court, U.S. Senate, three congressional seats, most of the legislature and a slew of down-ballot races.
And in Plotner’s Berkeley County, the voter profile is changing. More and more who register prefer to be independent, having no party affiliation. In Berkeley County that accounts for about a third of all registered voters. That is more than are registered in the Democratic Party.
Statewide numbers mirror Berkeley County. And among those who choose a party, voters who register as Democrat are dropping and Republicans are rising.
Voters in Martinsburg, relaxing at a King Street coffee shop as the weekend approached, say they take their civic duty seriously.
“I voted in every election since I was 18,” said Al Verges, a retiree from Falling Waters, West Virginia. “You have no right to complain if you don’t vote.”
His friend from Shepherdstown, Stuart Younkin, echoes Verges’ view. “There are a lot of issues out there that are going to effect everyone. It is important to go to the polls.”