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Voters to pick candidates in W.Va. primaries

May 14, 2002|BY DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Eastern Panhandle voters will go to the polls in today's West Virginia primary election to cast ballots in a variety of local, state and national races.

Voters will cast ballots in Board of Education and county commission races, the 2nd District congressional race and a handful of legislative races.

Residents of Berkeley and Morgan counties, meanwhile, will also decide if they want to allow Sunday hunting.

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

Despite the full plate, election officials say it's hard to tell how many people will come out to vote.

Making such a prediction is always tough in an nonpresidential election year, said Bonnie Woodfall, deputy clerk of the voter registration office in Berkeley County.

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"You can only hope people will get out and vote," said Woodfall.

The predictions on turnout varied greatly.

Morgan County Clerk Debra Kesecker said the Sunday hunting issue will probably bring out people more than anything else. Berkeley County Clerk John Small said he believes the turnout could hit 67 percent.

Jefferson County Clerk John Ott was much less optimistic.

Ott said he thinks turnout will be in the "middle to high 20s" percent level.

It may rise to 40 percent if the weather is clear, Ott said.

"But I doubt it very seriously. There doesn't seem to be much interest. I don't hear many people talking about it," Ott said.

Sunday hunting is allowed on private property with the owner's consent, following state legislation passed last year.

The original intent of lawmakers who supported the bill was to ban Sunday hunting except in counties that voted to allow it. Under the bill that passed, Sunday hunting is allowed unless voters decide to ban it.

The Berkeley County Commission and the Morgan County Commission decided to let the voters determine the issue today.

Opponents to Sunday hunting believe Sundays should be reserved for rest and relaxation while supporters say Sunday hunting would give hunters more opportunity to hunt who may be tied up with work during other days of the week.

In Jefferson County, there was not a lot of interest in the issue so the Jefferson County Commissioners decided not to take any action, said commissioner James G. Knode.

In Berkeley County, three Republicans and two Democrats are running for a seat on the Berkeley County Commission and six people are running for three seats on the Berkeley County Board of Education.

The Board of Education race, like the one in Jefferson County, will be decided today because it is nonpartisan.

In the Jefferson County Board of Education race, seven people are running for three seats.

Also in Jefferson County, two Republicans and three Democrats are running for the Harpers Ferry District seat on the Jefferson County Commission and three Democrats are running for the Kabletown district seat on the commission.

Rusty Morgan, the sole Republican running for the Kabletown seat, will automatically advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

Voters will also choose candidates in state House of Delegates races for the 52nd, 56th, 51st and 54th districts. Top vote-getters will receive their party nominations and advance to the Nov. 5 general election.

Democratic voters in all three Eastern Panhandle counties will choose between Margaret Workman and Jim Humpreys for their party's nomination to the 2nd District U.S. House of Representatives seat.

The winner of the primary race will face Republican incumbent Shelley Moore Capito in the fall.

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