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Not many voters but plenty of confusion at the polls in Martinsville and Henry County

Not many voters but plenty of confusion at the polls in Martinsville and Henry County

From the Martinsville-region COVID-19/coronavirus daily update from state, nation and world: June 24 series
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There were not many voters at any of the precincts in Martinsville and Henry County on Tuesday, but there was plenty of confusion.

“Please — in the future — know what congressional district you live in,” Henry County Registrar Elizabeth Stone said. “We’ve been getting calls all day from people wanting to vote in the Democratic primary.”

Martinsville Registrar Cynthia Barbour said the confusion spilled over into the city.

“We’ve gotten a lot of calls due to Henry County having a dual primary, and they’re expecting Martinsville to have one also,” Barbour said. “We have to explain it’s only a Republican primary [in the city].”

The Republican primary for U.S. Senate was open at all precincts and the ballot listed three candidates: Alissa Baldwin, Daniel Gade and Thomas Speciale.

The only Democratic primary in the area was for the 5th Congressional District that includes the eastern part of Henry County and involves most of seven precincts: Axton Elementary School, Freedom Baptist Church, Mount Olivet Ruritan Building, Mountain Valley Leatherwood Club, VFW Building, Dyers Store Fire Department and the Ridgeway Library.

To make matters more confusing, voters at the Mount Olivet Ruritan Building are in the 5th Congressional District with the exception of the residents on Cabell Street, who are in the 9th Congressional District.

“Many people think there is a Democratic primary at every precinct,” Stone said. “We have to explain at the polls and some people left and they weren’t too happy.”

Voters in the 5th Congressional District had four candidates to choose from: R.D. Huffstetler, John Lesinski, Claire Russo and Cameron Webb.

Barbour said as of noon turnout had been slow, with 130 votes cast among the six precincts in the city. The school administration office on Indian Trail was leading the other precincts with 64 votes, the middle school had 34, followed by the high school with 20, the Virginia Museum of Natural History with eight, the housing office with three and Albert Harris with one.

Toolie Hairston of Martinsville confirmed he was the only one to have cast a vote at his precinct by noon at Albert Harris as he walked out of the school with an “I voted” sticker on his shirt.

There were 25 absentee ballots received by mail in the city and eight in-person voters.

In Henry County voting totals were not available, but 99 absentee ballots had been received by mail, and 28 people voted in-person.

Neither Barbour nor Stone reported any issues related to social distancing requirements because of the COVID-19 virus.

Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 236. Follow him @billdwyatt

Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 236. Follow him @billdwyatt

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