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Jefferson Co. voters getting out early on table games issue

May 30, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - About 4.4 percent of Jefferson County's 32,377 registered voters have cast ballots in advance of the special election set for June 9 to decide whether to allow blackjack, roulette and other table games at Charles Town Races & Slots.

Including Tuesday, 1,431 ballots had been cast in the first seven days of early voting, according to a press release sent about 4 p.m. by Jefferson County Clerk Jennifer Maghan's office.

Voters have the opportunity to cast ballots early through June 6 on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Jefferson County Courthouse in downtown Charles Town.

"We're definitely pleased ... it's well beyond anybody's expectations," said Chris Durak, spokesman for the Yes for Jefferson County coalition, which favors adding table games to the track's gaming profile.

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Durak said the coalition has canvassing teams of people knocking on doors and the group is offering transportation to residents who need a ride to the polls to vote as part of their get-out-the-vote efforts.

VoteNoTableGames.org spokeswoman Linda Hoffman said the small grass-roots group has printed fliers and posters as part of a goal to simply inform people on the issue at the hand, but they haven't offered transportation.

"We're probably going to do a mailing later this week and that will probably be it," said Hoffman, who expected a number of people, including herself, only have time to vote on Saturday.

"I think there will be a good turnout on (June) 9th," Hoffman said.

Voting on June 9 will take place from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Del. John Doyle, who has supported a vote against table games through letters to the editor and speaking engagements, predicted between 2,000 and 2,500 ballots would be cast early.

"I've worked almost as hard as I have in my campaigns," said Doyle, D-Jefferson.

A deputy clerk with Maghan's office said Tuesday that the special election appears to have helped increase the number of registered voters in the county. There were 31,256 people registered to vote for the November 2006 general election, 1,121 less than the 32,377 provided by Maghan's office Tuesday.

A special election Web cam showing live video footage of early voting in the Jefferson County Commission meeting chambers on the first floor of the courthouse can be accessed at www.jeffersoncountywv.org/cameras/24x7cam.html

More information about the interest groups actively engaged in the special election is available at www.VoteNoTableGames.org and http://www.yesforjeffersoncounty.com.




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More information about the interest groups actively engaged in the special election is available on the Internet at www.VoteNoTableGames.org and www.yesforjeffersoncounty.com.

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