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Volunteers help get the vote out on W.Va.

October 11, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - More than 100 volunteers turned out at the Comfort Inn along Edwin Miller Boulevard Sunday afternoon to help launch an effort to get voters to the polls in the upcoming general election.

Although the election is not until Nov. 2, early voting begins Wednesday and extends until Oct. 30. The early voting period includes two Saturdays when voters can cast ballots, election officials said.

If they are registered to vote, voters can go to the office of their county clerk beginning Wednesday to vote, said Joe Eyer, statewide director for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign.

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To make sure as many people as possible vote, Eyer and other Democratic party officials headed up a training session at the Comfort Inn for volunteers in the effort.

The volunteers will be involved in a variety of activities in coming weeks, Eyer said.

For example, if voters do not have any transportation to get to polling places, volunteers can take them, Eyer said.

Volunteers can transport voters in their own cars or use vans provided by the state Democratic party, he said.

Volunteers also will participate in "phone banking," which involves calling voters to determine if they need transportation or if volunteers can answer any questions about Democratic candidates, Eyer said.

Eyer said he was pleased by the turnout Sunday.

"There's a lot of enthusiasm," Eyer said.

Kathy Kinsella of Slanesville, W.Va., said she came to the training session because she wants to "do anything I can do" to increase voter participation in the election.

The training session was one of nine that were being held across the state Sunday, Eyer said. The other training sessions were held in the West Virginia cities of Princeton, Beckley, Charleston, Parkersburg, Clarksburg, Huntington, Morgantown and Wheeling.

For rides to polls, citizens can call a statewide hot line at 1-888-984-5304 or a local hot line at 304-264-1443.

Besides the heated race between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, local voters will be able to cast votes in a variety of races, including those for governor, and a slate of other state and local races.

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