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Almost time to vote

While the official start of the election season got off to what can only be described as a disastrous beginning, we’ve already started to look ahead to the March primary.

The inability of the Democrats to be able to quickly determine the results of Monday’s Iowa caucuses should serve as a reminder that while the technology exists to conduct voting across many platforms, there’s still a long way to go before the proper systems are in place to ensure the system works for everyone.

Residents in our area won’t have to worry about glitches with apps when they cast their votes in Ohio’s March 17 primary — those who vote in person will be using the system that was unveiled last year.

The choices you’ll face when you prepare to cast your ballot will vary, depending on which ballot you pick.

Republicans, for instance, will be choosing between incumbent Bill Johnson of Marietta and Kenneth Morgan of Chesapeake in the race for the seat in the 6th Congressional District. The winner will face Democrat Shawna Roberts of Belmont in the Nov. 3 general election.

There are no other contested races on the Republican ballot. Democrats, however, will be faced with a few more choices, beginning at the top of the ballot, where 12 presidential candidates are listed.

There will be a couple of other contested races in the primary for the Democrats. That includes selection of the party’s nominee for state representative in Ohio’s 96th District. Charlie DiPalma and Richard Olivito, who both live in Steubenville, will face off in the primary, with the winner meeting Ron Ferguson in the general election. Ferguson, a Wintersville resident, is unopposed on the Republican side.

The decision of Republican Tom Gentile not to seek re-election to his seat on the Jefferson County commissioners has set up an interesting primary battle. Edward Littlejohn of Steubenville and Steve Vukelic of Toronto are running for the nomination on the Democratic side. The winner on March 17 will face Republican Tony Morelli of Wintersville in the general election for the Jan. 3 seat.

Democrats also will be asked to choose their candidate for Jefferson County recorder. Bob Stanko of Steubenville and Scott Renforth of Toronto are vying for the Democratic nomination. No Republican filed for the post, which means those who vote in the primary will be selecting the next recorder.

Longtime county Commissioner Dave Maple is the only candidate on the Republican side in the race for the Jan. 2 seat. He will face off against Bob Smith, who was the only Democrat to file for the position, in the general election.

Democrat John Corrigan, the longtime clerk of courts, also choose not to seek re-election, which provides an opening for either Republican Andrew Plesich of Steubenville or Democrat Darrin Corrigan of Mingo Junction to win the position. Both are unopposed in the primary.

No Republicans filed for prosecuting attorney, sheriff, treasurer, county engineer, common pleas judge or probate judge, which means Democrats Jane Hanlin, Fred Abdalla, Ray Agresta, Jim Branagan, Michelle Miller, Joseph Bruzzese and Frank Noble — who face no opposition from anyone in their party — will win their respective positions.

No Democrat filed for Jefferson County coroner, which means Republican Michael Scarpone will retain his seat.

Depending on where you live, you’ll get to vote on property tax renewals in Stratton, Saline Township, Toronto and, in the southern part of the county, the Eastern Ohio Regional Transit Authority. Additional property taxes are being asked for in Tiltonsville and, in the northern part of the county, the Southern Local School District.

Everyone needs to get out and vote — but to do that, you will need to be registered, and the Feb. 18 deadline is approaching quickly. There are many places where you can complete the process, including the Jefferson County Board of Elections, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Feb. 18.

Ohio’s early primary in a presidential election year ensures residents of the state will have a say in who will emerge as the eventual party nominees. The Democrats will make their choice official during this year’s convention, which will run July 13-16 in Milwaukee. The GOP, meanwhile, will hold its convention Aug. 24-27 in Charlotte.

And, West Virginia voters won’t vote in their primary until May 12.

Register. Vote. Be involved. Make sure your voice is heard.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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