Brooke officials prepare for elections

WELLSBURG — Proof of identity that will be required for voters in next year’s primary and general elections and the upcoming filing period for county, state and federal candidates were on Tuesday’s agenda for the Brooke County Commission.

County Clerk Sylvia Benzo, the county’s chief election official, advised the commissioners voters will be required to show a form of identification when casting their ballots, whether on the two election days or during early voting periods for each.

Benzo shared information released by West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner as part of his Be Registered and Be Ready to Vote campaign to educate voters about proof of identity to be required to deter voter fraud.

She said voters may present any of the following photo or non-photo identification, provided it’s not expired:

¯ A West Virginia driver’s license or other ID card issued by the state Division of Motor Vehicles, a driver’s license issued by another state, a U.S. passport or passport card, a U.S. military ID card, U.S. or West Virginia government employee ID card, student ID card or a concealed carry permit.

¯ A voter registration card, a Medicare card or Social Security card, birth certificate, West Virginia hunting or fishing license, West Virginia S.N.A.P. ID card, West Virginia TANF program ID card, West Virginia Medicaid ID card, bank or debit card, utility bill or bank statement issued within six months of the date of the election or a health insurance card issued to the voter.

Benzo said residents without any of those forms of ID may have a photo taken of themselves at the county clerk’s office for a photo voter registration card to be issued by the state.

Because it will take some time for the state to produce the card, those interested in obtaining one should have their photos taken before the day they intend to vote.

April 17 is the deadline for voters to register for the May 20 primary election.

Benzo noted the filing period for those planning to see offices in the upcoming elections will be from Jan. 8 to 27.

Offices on the ballots will include a seat in the U.S. Senate, a seat representing the local district in the House of Representatives, a seat representing Hancock, Brooke, Ohio and part of Marshall counties in the state Senate; two seats representing the 1st Delegate District, which includes Hancock County and a portion of Brooke County; a seat representing the 2nd Delegate District, which includes Brooke and a portion of Ohio County, in the state House of Delegates.

Also on the ballots will be a seat on the county commission, which may be held by a resident of the Follansbee Magisterial District; two seats representing the county on the Northern Panhandle Conservation Soil Conservation District Board; and three seats on the county’s school board.

Candidates for the school board may be from any of the county’s three magisterial districts, but the five-member board may not have more than two residents of the same district.

Filing fees for the Brooke County offices are: County commissioner, $349.80; school board member, $25; and soil conservation district supervisor, $10.

In other business, the commissioners renewed a $1 lease with Charles Stewart for property in McKinleyville acquired by the county through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s buyout program.

They confirmed Stewart has been maintaining the property, which is adjacent to his own; and may not build on it in keeping with the FEMA program.

The commissioners also announced the courthouse will close at noon Friday and remain closed Saturday and Monday for the holiday weekend.