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Gale: Election small, but it’s important

APPROVED — Jefferson County Board of Elections members, from left, Frankie DiCarlantonio, Robert Martin and Tom Gentile approved the results of a public test of the voting equipment Friday morning ahead of Tuesday's primary election. -- Andrew Grimm

STEUBENVILLE — Tuesday’s primary/special election might not have the hype and luster of the elections that took place last year, but for voters in Steubenville and Cross Creek Township heading to the polls Tuesday, it is still important.

“I’ve always said your local elections are more important to the local residents than your federal, or possibly state, elections,” board of elections Director Bob Gale said. “I think it’s important everyone gets out and votes so their voice can be heard on the direction they would like to see their community go in. Voting is the only way to do that.”

Less than 17,000 voters are eligible to vote on Tuesday.

A public test of the voting machines was held Friday morning in the board of elections office in advance of the election.

“It’s important for the board and for the public to know that we test and validate the systems prior to them going out to the polls so the results will be accurate and verifiable,” Gale said. “It’s important to give the public an understanding that the numbers will be accurate on election night.”

On the ballot in Steubenville’s 4-1 and 4-2 precincts, which will vote at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, is a contested race for the 4th Ward Council seat between Democrats Scott Dressell, the incumbent, and challenger Royal Mayo.

Also on the ballot in Steubenville are a pair of renewal levies. One is a .7 percent levy on income for street improvements and equipment, parks and recreation capital improvements and the general fund for a period of five years. The other is a .3 percent levy on income, 85 percent to be used for the payment of salaries of municipal employees and 15 percent for improvement of streets for a five-year period.

Voters in the 1-1, 1-2, 2-1 and 3-1 precincts in Steubenville will vote at Froehlich’s Classic Corner, while the 2-2, 3-2 and 5-1 precincts will vote at Holy Family Church. The Steubenville Country Club will be the polling location for precincts 5-2, 5-3, 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 and Cross Creek.

In addition to the Cross Creek precinct, voters from the Bantam Ridge (Our Lady of Lourdes Church), Brentwood (Brentwood Methodist Church) and West Park (Two Ridge Presbyterian Church) will vote on renewing Cross Creek Township’s 1 mil levy for another five years. That levy is for general construction, reconstruction, resurfacing and repair of streets, roads and bridges in the township.

It excludes Wintersville and New Alexandria.

Gale said early voting has been slow so far but reminded that those wishing to vote had an opportunity to do so over the weekend and can still do so at the board office on the first floor of the Jefferson County Tower at 500 Market St. from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

“It’s been very slow, hopefully on election day we get more people out,” Gale said. “People still have time. I encourage them to come out and early vote. I’m not sure what the weather is going to be like Tuesday, but we’ll be here on Monday (today).”

Gale said, optimistically, he’s hoping to see an above 20 percent turnout.

Polling sites are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

While Gale was working under longtime director Diane Gribble, now retired, during November’s general election, Tuesday will be his first as director.

“I’m glad we have (a small election) to gear me up and get me into the process,” he said. “It will gear me up for what will be a huge election in the fall with so many village and township races. This is nice to get my feet a little wet. It’s been very slow at times compared to last year, but it’s a good learning and training experience for myself.”

He noted it will also be good for new board members Tom Gentile and Robert Martin to experience the process for the first time on Tuesday.

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