Casting Ballots Early

Decision 2004 WTAP
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To some people, the appearances by the president and his opponent may amount to a last-minute "get out the vote" campaign.

That might sound strange with election day more than two months away, but Washington County's Board of Elections already has received hundreds of requests for absentee ballots.

In a normal election year, which this isn't, those requests would just be starting right now.

"The people who are applying for absentee ballots right now are a little surprised we don't have the ballots ready for them," says Elections Board Director Becky Kirkbride. "The ballot hasn't been settled yet. We don't know for sure who's going to be on it. There's also the marriage initiative petition that's been circulated, and we've checked signatures on that, and right now I don't know if that's going to be on the ballot."

Absentee ballots are counted separately from the election day vote, so it isn't certain how the absentee vote will affect the outcome of the November elections.

Wood County Clerk Jamie Six says his office’s requests for traditional absentee ballots are normal for this time of year, but it will be interesting to monitor early voting, which will take place mostly in October.

Kirkbride says the interest in Washington County began after the primaries.

“'T's frantic, it's hectic already," Kirkbride says. "Normally we're not this geared up this early; a little more laid back until the month before."

Whether you're able to vote on election day or not, you can vote absentee if you're over 62 years of age, are handicapped, or work for law enforcement.

As we've reported since the weekend, President Bush plans a campaign stop this Sunday in Parkersburg. Details of that visit have not yet been finalized.