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Berkeley County voter turnout tops state average

January 10, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County’s 55.7 percent voter turnout in the 2012 general election came in slightly above the statewide average, according to Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office.

Chief Deputy County Clerk Bonnie Woodfall said Thursday that she expected a good turnout given that it was a presidential election year.

The county’s heavily contested races for magistrate and sheriff also attracted significant interest, but Woodfall said both major political parties were pushing hard to get people out to vote for president.

Statewide, the average voter turnout was 54.9 percent, with 11 counties, including Morgan and Jefferson, topping 60 percent, according to Tennant’s office

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In Jefferson County, 62.8 percent of the county’s 35,574 voters went to the polls in November. In Morgan County, 60.9 percent of the county’s 11,802 voters cast ballots.

More than 37,000 of Berkeley County’s 67,805 registered voters went to the polls in November, but Woodfall expects a significant drop in turnout in the 2014 election.

“The drop-off (from presidential election years) has been major,” Woodfall said.

In Berkeley County’s magistrate race, there were 10 candidates vying for five magistrate seats.

Newly elected magistrate Betty Jo Hersh reported spending the most on her campaign, with $12,095 in expenditures, according to her campaign financial statement. Incumbent magistrate JoAnn Overington, who won re-election, reported $8,075 in spending, followed by Charles C. Cole Sr., who reported $6,464, according to their respective statements.

Incumbent magistrate Harry L. Snow reported $3,142 in spending in his successful re-election bid, and Robert L. “Rob” Lowe II, who reported $1,520 in expenditures, joined Hersh and Cole on the bench as a newly elected magistrate.

In the sheriff’s race, John Orem reported $27,882 in spending in his primary election and official write-in campaigns, according to his financial statement.

Kenneth “Kenny” Lemaster, who reported $8,800 in expenditures, won re-election in November by also defeating James W. Barbour III, who reported $1,315 in expenditures, and Carlton “Cootsie” DeHaven, who reported $3,805, according to their respective financial statements.

Among the three Berkeley County Council candidates in the general election who were vying for two seats, newly elected councilman James R. Barnhart reported $9,869 in expenditures to lead Mark T. Barney ($7,369) and incumbent Elaine Mauck ($7,103), who won re-election.

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