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Republican votes outnumber Democrats in Berkeley Co. primaries

May 15, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The lack of local contested races in the Berkeley County Republican Party's primary Tuesday did not appear to deter turnout, according to complete, but unofficial results.

Of the 20,888 ballots tallied Tuesday night, 59.3 percent (12.401) were cast by voters who chose the GOP slate, according to unofficial results. A little more than 7,900, or 37.8 percent, of the ballots cast were in the Democratic Party's primary. Registered voters with no party affiliation had the option to vote in the Democratic Party's primary for the first time.

As of May 5, the GOP held a slight lead in county voter registration tallies - 23,442 Republicans to 23,155 Democrats. No party registration was at 14,641.

Aside from the zoning and transferable development rights ordinance questions on the ballot, Berkeley County voters participating in the GOP primary were limited to statewide contests for commissioner of agriculture and attorney general and the three-man race for county surveyor, an unpaid position with no official duties. Registered Republicans in the City of Martinsburg and Town of Hedgesville did not have the option to vote on the ordinances.

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Bonnie Woodfall, the county's supervising deputy clerk for elections, said Wednesday she received a "handful" of complaints and experienced few snags Tuesday.

One woman who voted in county precinct 49 in the northeastern Berkeley County community of Greensburg told Woodfall she had to wait more than two hours to vote, Woodfall said. A voting machine battery problem there, combined with heavy turnout, caused lines to form. Woodfall said voter turnout also was heavy in precinct 39 at James Rumsey Technical Institute, Woodfall said.

The Berkeley County Commission is expected to convene as a canvassing board to consider whether to add provisional ballots and late-arriving absentee ballots on Friday beginning at 9 a.m.

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