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Low turnout expected for W.Va. election

September 27, 1997

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Local and state election officials are predicting a low turnout today as West Virginians decide whether their state should invest money in the stock market.

"I don't think anyone even knows about it," said County Clerk Ralph Shambaugh in Morgan County, W.Va. "It's confusing and there's no interest in it. Too many people don't know about it. I think this will be our lightest turnout ever."

Secretary of State Ken Hechler predicts turnouts in counties across the state at 12 to 15 percent. There are 970,745 registered voters in the Mountain State.

West Virginia is one of two states that cannot invest in stocks. South Carolina voters last year approved a constitutional amendment allowing the investments, but the state legislature has not moved on it.

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West Virginia invests in bonds only, limiting the state to a 4.6 percent return. Proponents of the referendum claim stock market investments would net returns averaging 10.9 percent.

Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

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