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Election time’s here

If it seems a little strange to be talking about elections this time of year, it is.

But because of all of the issues the Legislature and the state Supreme Court had with getting the state’s new districts drawn, the primary votes for those offices could not be held during the May 3 vote. That set the stage for Ohio’s second primary, which will be held Aug 2.

That means that when voters in our area go to cast their ballots, there will not be a lot to vote on.

Just two items, in fact.

Republican and Democrat ballots will show candidates for state representative in the 96th District, as well as representatives for state central committee spots in the 30th District.

When it comes to state representative, neither party has a contested ballot. Republicans across the district, which includes all of Jefferson and Monroe counties as well as a portion of Belmont County, will have the chance to vote for Wintersville’s Ron Ferguson while Democrats will be voting for Steubenville’s Charlie DiPalma.

Since neither is opposed, both will advance to the Nov. 8 general election and will face each other.

Ferguson will be looking to retain the seat he won in 2020 when he defeated Democrat Richard Olivito.

DiPalma is no stranger to voters in the district. He unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 primary, losing to Olivito. Last November, he ran as a write-in candidate against Republican Michael Hernon for Steubenville’s Sixth Ward seat on City Council, a race Hernon handily won.

Voters also will be asked to choose the male and female representatives for their respective state central committees.

On the Republican side, incumbent Jim Carnes of St. Clairsville is being challenged by Shannon K. Walker of Pomeroy on the man’s side, while incumbent Nichole Hunter of New Matamoras is facing LeeAnn Johnson of Marietta on the woman’s side.

Candidates on the Democrat side are unsupported — John Haseley of Athens on the man’s side and Karla D. Gregory-Martin of Steubenville on the woman’s side. Neither of the incumbents — Ginny Favede and Steubenville’s Lou Gentile — are running.

That’s not much to vote on — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cast a ballot. In reality, no matter what happens on Aug. 2, Ferguson and DiPalma will face each other in November. And, let’s be honest, even though the work they do is important, it’s doubtful that few people besides the hardcore members of either party can tell you the names of the people who are on the state central committee and what they do.

If you aren’t registered to vote and want to participate in August, you are running short of time. The deadline is 9 p.m. July 5.

Once you are registered, you will be able to start voting on July 6. The Jefferson County Board of Elections, located in the Towers, at 500 Market St. in Steubenville, will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 6-8, July 11-15 and July 18-22.; from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 25-29; from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 30; from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on July 31; and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 2.

You also can request an absentee ballot — and it all adds up to making it easy to participate in Ohio’s second primary of 2022.

Even if you are not interested in the upcoming election but you want to vote in November, you will have until Oct. 11 to make sure you are registered.

•••••

With the Independence Day holiday just around the corner, it’s likely many area residents will be celebrating with fireworks.

If you live in Ohio, you now will be able to do so legally thanks to a state law that goes into effect on Friday.

Basically, Ohioans now will be able to set off 1.4G consumer fireworks between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. on specific days unless their local community has chosen to ban their use. Those periods include July 3, 4 and 5 and the weekends immediately before and after; Labor Day weekend; Diwali; New Year’s Eve (between 4 p.m. and 11:59 p.m.); New Year’s Day (between midnight and 1 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 11 p.m.); Chinese New Year; Cinco de Mayo; Memorial Day weekend; and Juneteenth, according to the state fire marshal.

Only fireworks purchased in Ohio can be set off in Ohio, the fire marshal’s office stated, adding that fireworks can be purchased at any of the licensed dealers in the state.

So, enjoy the coming weekend — and make sure you are registered and that you vote. That’s one of the many privileges we enjoy as Americans and celebrate each Fourth of July.

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

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