Mercer County expects 25 percent of ballots to be cast early: Saturday is last day to vote early


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Voters kept arriving Thursday at the polls to take advantage of the last days for early voting in West Virginia before the 2024 Primary Election on May 14.

Saturday is West Virginia's final day for early voting. The state's early polling places opened May 1 in all 55 counties and were scheduled to close after May 11. Each county opened these polls at their courthouses or courthouse annexes, and several counties including Mercer County and Monroe County had more than one location where registered voters could go.

Mercer County's four early voting locations include the Mercer County Courthouse in Princeton and the Herb Sims Wellness Center along Stadium Drive in Bluefield. A third early polling place is the Four Seasons Answering Service at 3311 Coal Heritage Road in Bluewell and a fourth one is the Covenant Baptist Church at 145 Wyndale Drive between Princeton and Athens.

Early voting polls in Mercer County are open today from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and they will be open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Voters should bring their voter ID card, a driver's license, hunting/fishing license or a current utility bill which verifies their address, County Clerk Verlin Moye said Thursday. These forms of identification can be with or without a photo.

Historically, about 25% of Mercer County's total ballots during an election are cast as absentee and early votes, Moye said. The turnout for the Primary Election on May 14 is projected to be around 14,200 ballots cast, which will net the county around 38% total voter turnout.

"Historical data suggests that our General (Election) will yield substantially greater turnout," Moye said. "Somewhere in the 50 or even 60% range. For comparison, the 2008 election was huge and it netted a 58% voter turnout."

Voters continued coming to the polls Thursday. By the end of the day, 130 people had voted at the courthouse, said Chief Registrar Marie Hill. Another 98 had voted at Covenant Baptist Church, 60 had voted in Bluefield and 69 in Bluewell. These votes brought the county's overall early vote total to 2,491.

Moye reminded the public Thursday about the rules which will be in place May 14 at each voting precinct.

There can be no electioneering within 100 feet of a precinct, he said.

"No caps, T-shirts, signage, bumper sticker, that sort of thing," Moye said. "You cannot coerce, intimidate or create a disruption within a precinct."

According to state law, electronic recording devices will be prohibited at the polls.

"You cannot take pictures within a precinct or voting booth," Moye said. "Consider leaving your cellphone in your car while you vote or turn it off."

Moye also urged the public to help people who cannot get to the polls on May 14.

"We really want every legal Mercer County voter to vote," he said. "So if you know a person who is shut in or disable or has recently been put in a hospital, reach out to them and reach out to us. We have an emergency absentee ballot that could help them get voted."

The Mercer County Voter Registration office can be reached at 304-487-8338. Additional information can be found at

Registered voters in Monroe County can go to the old Union Rescue Building on Pump Street in Union and at Peterstown Town Hall on Thomas Street for early voting.

Both of Monroe County's early polling places are open today from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Early voters in McDowell County can go to the McDowell County Courthouse in Welch. The county's early voting location will be open today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Voters will decide a host of local and statewide races on May 14. Races on the ballot include the Mercer County Commission contest.

Candidates who have filed for the District 2 seat on the Mercer County Commission include Karen Champion Pendleton of Princeton who filed as a Republican and Stephanie Dempsey of Bluefield, who also filed as a Republican. Brian Blankenship has also filed as a Republican for the District 2 county commission seat. Republican Carl Calfee and Republican Jeremiah Nelson have also filed for the District 2 seat.

In another Mercer County race, Paul Hodges has filed in the non-partisan Division 3 Mercer County Board of Education race. Jim Bailey has filed for Division 1 on the board of education.

Other candidate filings to date in Mercer County include Alan Christian, who filed as a Republican to run for sheriff of Mercer County. Incumbent Republican Prosecuting Attorney Brian Cochran has filed for re-election.

Two candidates have filed for the Republican nomination for assessor. They are incumbent Assessor Lyle Cottle and Tommy Bailey, the current sheriff of Mercer County.

Six candidates have filed in the non-partisan magistrate race. The candidates are Alvin Marchant, who filed in Division 5, and incumbent magistrates Mike Crowder (Division 4), Keith Compton (Division 3), Mike Flanigan (Division 1), Susan Honaker (Division 2), William Holroyd (Division 5) and Sandra Dorsey (Division 5).

Incumbent Circuit Court Judges William J. Sadler (Division 2) and Mark Wills (Division 3) have filed for re-election in the non-partisan Judicial Circuit 13. Kelli Harshbarger, an assistant prosecuting attorney, attorney Derrick Lefler and attorney Ryan Flanigan have filed in Division 1 of the 13th Judicial circuit. The judgeship became vacant when Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope retired on Dec. 31, 2023.

Angela Walters, who Gov. Jim Justice appointed to the 12th Family Circuit Court, Division 2, serving Mercer and McDowell counties in November 2023, has filed to run for the judgeship. Cathy Wallace has filed to run for the 12th Circuit Family Court, Division 2, judgeship. Adam B. Wolfe has also filed to run for the 12th Family Court, Division 2. Anthony Bisaha has filed to run in the race for Family Court Circuit 12, Division 1 and Lisa Kay Clark has filed to run for Family Court Circuit 12, Division 3.

In McDowell County, incumbent Prosecuting Attorney Brittany Puckett has filed for re-election as a Democrat.

Incumbent McDowell County Sheriff James Muncy has filed for re-election as a Democrat.

Sherry Burton, Democrat, has filed to run for McDowell County Assessor.

Danny Mitchell, Mark Shelton, Richard Vandyke and Ronald Blevins filed in the non-partisan McDowell County magistrate race.

John Callaway, Margaret Beavers, Georgia West, Ed Evans, Kendrick King and Joey Proffitt have filed in the non-partisan McDowell County Board of Education contest.

Incumbent Circuit Court Judge Rick Murensky filed for re-election in the non-partisan Judicial Circuit 12 (Division 1) in McDowell County.

Republicans Dewayne Dotson and Ronnie G. Stacy have filed for the McDowell County Commission race.

In Monroe County, Republican Kenny W. Mann and Republican Kevin A. Mann have filed for the county commission; Republican Sarah F. Martin filed for assessor and Democrat Justin R. St. Clair filed for prosecuting attorney. Republicans Michael Heller and Scott Miller have filed to run for sheriff.

In the nonpartisan race for Monroe County magistrate, Frank C. Basile has filed for Division 2 and Kevin L. Miller has filed for Division 1.

Incumbent Republican Chandler Swope of Bluefield filed for re-election in the Senate District 6 contest. Republican Craig A. Hart and Republican Eric Porterfield also filed. Democrat Randy Fowler has filed to run for the Senate District 6 seat.

Incumbent Republican Marty Gearheart of Bluefield also filed for re-election in the House of Delegates District 37 contest. Democrat Polla McClelllan Rumberg of Bluefield is also running.

Incumbent Republican Joe Ellington Jr. has filed for re-election in the House of Delegates District 38 race. Democrat Randa C. Faulkner of Princeton is also running.

Incumbent Republican Delegate Doug Smith filed has for re-election the House of Delegates District 39 contest. Democrat Neal Vestal of Rock is also running.

Contact Greg Jordan at

Contact Greg Jordan at