Early voting continues in West Virginia

WHEELING — An election affecting the future of West Virginia’s highways and finances is taking place across the state, but voters aren’t yet speeding to the polls.

Two local counties, meanwhile, continue to seek and train new poll workers as Election Day approaches.

The first week of early voting for the Oct.7 road bond special election in West Virginia is now complete, with early ballots being cast through next Wednesday. Polls are open each weekday during regular business hours, and from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. on Saturday at county courthouses.

Brooke County is in dire need of poll workers for Oct. 7, said elections clerk Pam Northcraft. She said the county does not have enough workers to cover all the county’s precincts on Election Day.

“We’re to the point we’re calling friends, families and neighbors,” she said.

Brooke County residents interested in working the polls should call Northcraft at (304) 737-3668, and “poll school” training will be set up for next week.

As of the end of the day on Thursday, 176 voters had cast early ballots in Brooke County, where polls are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday. The county has 14,998 registered voters.

Ohio County reports 483 residents have voted early among 28,463 registered voters. Voting is taking place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday in the municipal courtroom on the first floor of the City-County Building.

The county also has a need for additional poll workers, and those interested in working that day should attend a poll school class. A class is scheduled for 10 a.m. today. Those with questions should contact Toni Chieffalo, Ohio County coordinator of elections, at (304) 234-3750.

Marshall County has seen 353 early ballots submitted from among 20,721 registered voters; and Wetzel County, 239 from among 11,697.

There are 23,400 registered voters in Hancock County, where 162 early votes have been cast. Tyler County has 6,341 voters, and reports 108 have come to the polls early.

The election is asking voters to decide whether to give the West Virginia Legislature authority to borrow $1.6 billion through the sale of general obligation bonds, and this money would be used to begin a slate of $1.9 billion in road work throughout the state.

The loans would be paid back through revenue generated by increases in motor vehicle licensing fees and vehicle sales taxes this year, and state officials say passage of the bond would not increase any other taxes.

Gov. Jim Justice and other state officials estimate about 48,000 jobs would be created by the projects, and about $200 million in additional payroll tax revenue would be collected from those working on the road improvements. They say now is the time to borrow the money and do highway projects in bulk as interest rates are low.