Early, absentee voting should carry lot of weight in election

CELINA-With election day in Clay County now less than two months away, candidates should be pursuing votes in full force, but there’s a particular segment of the vote they’re probably working hard for right now.

Early voting by personal appearance will start less than a month from today, and if the statistics from the county election four years ago are any indication, early and absentee voting will play a huge part in winning any race.

July 16 through July 31 will be the early voting period this year. Coupled with absentee votes, these personal appearance votes will play a big role in determining the winners when the votes are finally totaled late on August 5.

Administrator of elections Wanda Daniels said there was a total of 3457 votes cast in the 2006 county general election, which was a turnout of roughly 67 percent. There were 5100-plus registered voters in 2006.

The early and absentee vote total four years ago was over 1700, just under 50 percent of the total vote cast. If that percentage were to inch much higher this year, and it could in different races, well over half of the total vote could be cast before election day even rolls around.

That should be enough to get candidates working very hard over the next four weeks which will lead up to the start of the early voting period.

Daniels said while there are “more people registering,” there were 6263 registered voters on the rolls Monday. That number changes daily, but currently represents over a 20% percent increase in the number of registered voters from four years ago.

Candidates are undoubtedly focusing not only on the early vote, but getting as many potential voters as possible registered.

The last day to register to vote in the local county election office is July 6.