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Program may increase votes

February 28, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

The city of Parsons may be the next municipality in West Virginia to take part in a pilot voter program that was touted with nothing but success in its inaugural run last year.

City Administrator Jason Myers told council last week that he hopes to gain permission for the town to take part in the Vote-By-Mail Pilot Program. The process involves mailing paper ballots to all registered voters. Two accompanying envelopes - one with no identifying marks - ensure that the votes remain anonymous.

Modeled after an election process in Oregon, the program is designed to save municipalities money and hopefully increase voter turnout. In 2011, Morgantown was the first city in West Virginia to conduct a vote-by-mail election. It yielded a 128 percent increase in ballots cast.

Parsons certainly has room to up its voter turnout. In 2010, a little more than 200 people showed up at the polls. That's a big difference from the county as a whole, which usually ranks among the highest in the state for ballots cast.

Saving money is always a plus for any municipality, especially our smaller ones.

Council should give Myers the green light to proceed with the Vote-By-Mail Pilot Program. We hope it would prove a success and it likely could. That will never be known until it is given a try.



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