Early voting ends Saturday

PARKERSBURG – The turnout has been light so far during early voting which ends Saturday for the 2014 primary, elections officials in Wood County said on Thursday.

The primary election is on Tuesday.

Since early voting began April 30, there have been 1,182 ballots cast at the downtown polling site located in the Fort Boreman public meeting room of the Judge Black Courthouse Annex, Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes said.

Election officials said many of those were pollworkers who cast their ballot early rather than vote a challenged ballot on election day because they have to vote out of their usual precinct. By voting early it saves time during the canvass.

Early voting at the downtown site began April 30. Early voting started May 6 and also ends this Saturday at four satellite voting precincts.

The vote totals for those locations as of Wednesday night was 96 in Lubeck; 34 in Mineral Wells; 115 in Vienna, and 94 in Williamstown.

“That is a light turnout even for an off-year election. Unless things pick up over the next few days, the numbers will be about one-third of what they were during our last off-year election,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes said so far everything has gone smoothly during the early vote process.

“We did have one voter ask whether Bob Tebay was still a candidate. The pollworkers were instructed during their training to tell voters who asked he is still a candidate on the ballot and any votes cast for him will be counted,” Rhodes said.

Tebay, a Republican, tried to withdraw his after the Feb. 11 deadline. The attorney general’s opinion was Tebay will remain on the primary election ballot and if he wins, the commission must certify him as the nominee and he could then withdraw from the general election.

If Tebay loses, the issue is moot. Deadline to withdraw for the general election is Aug. 12.

If Tebay withdraws after the primary by the deadline the Republican Executive Committee would need to have approval of the state Elections Committee but could then appoint a replacement nominee for him going into the general election. The party would have until Aug. 18 to nominate a candidate for the general election. There are four Republican candidates for the commission seat: Tebay, Sam Baker, Raymond Jones, and Roger Brown. Incumbent commissioner Wayne Dunn is running unopposed on the Democratic ticket in the primary.

Rhodes said all early vote precincts will be open until 5 p.m. on Saturday. The downtown polling precinct for early voting is in the Fort Boreman public meeting room of the Judge Black Courthouse Annex, 315 Market St., Parkersburg. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday.

Satellite polls are located at the Williamstown City Building, 100 West Fifth St.; Vienna City Building, 609 29th St., Vienna; Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department, 1695 Elizabeth Pike, Mineral Wells, and Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department, 1340 Harris Highway, Lubeck. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday. Early voting at the satellite locations began May 6.

Rhodes said the only campaign-related complaint he’s had so far was about the lack of a disclaimer on some signs.

“We contacted those candidates and told them to either write the disclaimer on their signs or get labels and attach them. The disclaimer, which tells who paid for the materials, is required by code,” the clerk said.

“Voters are reminded no matter where they reside they can vote at any early vote precinct. The sites will have all the ballot styles available,” Rhodes said.

Voters not registered as Republican or Democrat can still vote on nonpartisan candidates, which includes Wood County Board of Education candidates, the bus levy and Soil Conservation District supervisor. To be eligible to vote on the Mid-Ohio Valley Transit Authority’s Easy Rider bus levy, voters must be residents within the corporate limits of Parkersburg or Vienna. The mayor and city council candidates for the city of Williamstown are also be on the ballot for Williamstown. Voters will also be deciding on nominees for legislative offices.

“Both political parties have opened their primaries as well, so if you are not a registered Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Mountain Party, you can request a Republican or Democrat ballot, whichever they want to vote,” said Melody Ross, deputy clerk with the voter’s registration office.