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Early voting begins

April 26, 2012
By JOSELYN KING - For The Weirton Daily Times , Weirton Daily Times

Wetzel and Brooke counties reported high numbers of early voters on the first day of election season in West Virginia.

Early voting for the May 8 primary election began Wednesday across the state and continues through May 5 at county courthouses.

In Wetzel County, there are 12,618 registered voters, according to information provided by the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office. By mid-afternoon, 120 had cast ballots there.

Brooke County has a number of contested county races this year, including two county commission races, sheriff, prosecuting attorney and magistrate races. There are 17,604 registered voters in the county.

On the first day of early voting, 103 cast early ballots in Brooke County before 4:30 p.m., county election officials said.

Ohio County reported 113 early voters as of mid-afternoon; Marshall County, 93; Hancock County, 45; and Tyler County, 26.

There are 32,767 registered voters in Ohio County; 21,814 in Marshall County; 23,416 in Hancock County; and 6,092 in Tyler County.

At the City-County Building in Ohio County, it was a short walk for Wheeling City Clerk Janice Jones to go downstairs first thing Wednesday morning and cast her primary election ballot. Races for Wheeling city offices are on this year's ballot, as are races at the federal, state and county levels. And Jones wanted to be the first to vote.

"I like to take advantage of early voting - it's convenient," she said. "Also, there are council races on the ballot this year, and this affects all of us."

Ohio County elections officials remind voters in the city that races for Wheeling city offices are at the end of the ballot, according to directions for placement established by the West Virginia Secretary of State's Office.

Also voting early Wednesday in Ohio County was retired Circuit Judge Arthur Recht.

"I just wanted to get it done," Recht said. "I don't want to have to keep looking at signs and advertising - now it's done."

Retired Bethlehem police officer Jim Hutchison is traditionally among the first to vote in Ohio County.

"I get it done early, then I don't have to worry about it," he commented.

Two others who typically are first in line, Project BEST co-director Thomas Cerra and Wheeling attorney Martin Sheehan, talked outside the door prior to the start of voting. But Sheehan opted against voting Wednesday. A former chairman of the Ohio County Republican Party, he said he was overwhelmed by the number of candidates on the GOP ballot seeking delegate spots to the National Republican Convention this summer in Tampa Bay, Fla.

He examined a list of the candidates that is posted outside the polling location at the City-County Building in Wheeling.

"I'm not voting today," Sheehan said. "It's just too complicated."

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