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Counties prepare for early voting

Election clerks in Brooke and Hancock counties are preparing for early voting for the state’s primary election.

They also remind voters of the April 17 deadline to register, which can be done at the county clerk’s offices of the Brooke and Hancock county courthouses.

New voters and those who have moved or changed their political party affiliation should register.

In Brooke County, early voting may be done through the county clerk’s office between April 25 and May 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and on April 28 and May 5, the Saturdays before the May 8 election.

In Hancock County, early voting may be done through the county clerk’s office between the same dates from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the two Saturdays.

For questions, call Brooke County Clerk Sylvia Benzo’s office at (304) 737-3661 or Hancock County Clerk George Foley’s office at (304) 564-3311, extension 266.

Beginning this year, voters casting ballots early or on Election Day must present any of the following forms of identification: A driver’s license; passport; government, student or military identification card with photo; concealed carry permit; Medicare or Social Security card, utility bill; or voter registration card.

Those without those forms of identification may obtain a voter identification card. Applications for the card are available at the local courthouses.

The primary election will decide Decmoratic and Republican candidates for offices, including U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, state Senate and House of Delegates and family court judge.

Candidates for county offices include:

¯ John Casinelli of Follansbee and A.J. Thomas of Wellsburg, Democratic candidates for a seat on the Brooke County Commission currently held by Jim Andreozzi, who has chosen not to seek re-election. The winner of that race will face Republican Don Perkins of Follansbee in the fall general election.

¯ A field of eight candidates for three seats on the Brooke County Board of Education: Chris Byers of Weirton; incumbent Pam Dudley of Wellsburg; Stacy Hooper of Colliers; Jamie Lancaster of Colliers; incumbent Jim Lazear of Wellsburg; Ralph Smith of Wellsburg; Andrew Williams of Follansbee; and Ted Pauls of Bethany.

Incumbent Michael Simon, who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Chad Haught, has chosen not to run for his seat.

The winners may be from the Follansbee, Wellsburg or Weirton magisterial districts. But no more than one candidate from the Wellsburg and Follansbee districts may win the election because there is one resident from each district on the board who isn’t up for election.

¯ A field of six candidates for three seats on the Hancock County Board of Education: Incumbent Michelle Chappell of New Cumberland; Seth Cheuvront of Newell; Gabby Fighiroae of Chester; incumbent Toni N. Hinerman of Weirton; Danny Kaser of New Cumberland; and incumbent Larry Shaw of New Cumberland.

The winners of the three seats on the Hancock board may be from the Butler, Clay or Grant districts. But no more than one from the Butler or Clay districts may win the election because there is one resident from each of those districts on the board who isn’t up for election.

For the school board races, voters may vote for any candidates and aren’t limited to those from the districts where they live.

Hancock County Commissioner Jeff Davis faces no Democratic challengers in the primary election but will face Republican challengers Tommy Ogden and Mark R. Tetrault, both of New Cumberland, in the fall.

Voters who are overseas or are serving in the military have until May 2 to submit an application for an absentee ballot. Information about the ballots can be obtained by calling the county clerk’s offices or visiting the election forms section of the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website at https://sos.wv.gov. But Secretary of State Mac Warner has announced an app, for voting by West Virginians in the military, is being tested with voters registered in Harrison and Monongalia counties.

In a press release, Warner said the first serviceman to test the app was his son, Scott, who has been deployed to Italy and reportedly called it “pretty slick.”

Warner acknowledged there are concerns about hackers, American and foreign, and others interfering with the digital votes.

“So far the technology appears to stand up to those concerns, but it is important for observers of this very small scale test to be thorough in exploring any possible flaws,” he said.

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