Early voting for W.Va. road bond under way

WHEELING — Early voting on a $1.6 billion road bond referendum in West Virginia began Friday.

Local election officials didn’t expect polls to be busy on the first day of early voting for the Oct. 7 special election, and they weren’t disappointed by low turnout numbers. Some said they actually were surprised by how many did come out to vote.

In Ohio County, 64 early ballots were submitted on Friday.

At about 4 p.m., Marshall County reported having 58 voters; Wetzel County, 40; Hancock County, 37; Tyler County, 31; and Brooke County, 19.

“I figured there would be a low turnout,” said Pam Northcraft, elections clerk in Brooke County. “But I thought we would have a little more.”

None of the counties reported having voters waiting at the door for the start of early voting, although Hancock County had its first voter “within the first 15 minutes,” according to elections clerk Jeannie Ostrander.

“I’m kind of excited,” she said. “We had more than I thought we would.”

Ohio County pollworkers cheered when the 64th voter of the day came in just before the close of voting at 5 p.m. Ohio County Coordinator of Elections Toni Chieffalo said she had anticipated only about 50 would turn out on Friday to cast ballots.

Early voting is available at all county courthouses during normal business hours on weekdays through Oct. 4, as well as from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 30.