Early voting period for levy ends today

PARKERSBURG – The opportunity to vote early for this Saturday’s special levy election ends today.

Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes said early vote turnout for the special schools levy election has been relatively slow. Early voting began on Nov. 9.

According to the clerk’s voter registration office, as of Monday afternoon, there were 1,126 voters who had cast an early ballot.

Early voting is available at the regular voting precinct in the Fort Boreman public meeting room of the Judge Black Courthouse Annex, 315 Market St., Parkersburg.

Early voting is also available at four community satellite voting precincts located at: Williamstown City Building, 100 West Fifth St.; Vienna City Building, 609 29th St., Vienna; Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department, 1695 Elizabeth Pike, Mineral Wells, and Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department, 1340 Harris Highway, Lubeck. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

“Of the early vote community satellite sites the one at Williamstown has had the most traffic, with 53 the first day and 36 on another day,” Rhodes said.

The clerk is predicting a 10-12 percent voter turnout on Saturday. “With a single issue on the ballot, we anticipate a smaller turnout.”

On Monday, county commissioners inspected the iVotronic touchscreen machine that will be made available for the visually impaired on election day. The electronic technology allows voters who are visually impaired to use headphones. Through the headphones the ballot is read to the voter, then they use Braille and larger, differently shaped buttons to actually vote. The ballot this time is a yes or no single issue.

Because paper ballots are being used, pollworkers will count the ballots at the precincts after the polls close on Saturday.

Poll hours Saturday will be 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and the new consolidated precincts will be in effect. This will be he first election with the fewer number of precincts after the county’s 86 polling places were pared down to 69.

Voters with questions about their precinct location can call the voter’s registration office, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, 304-424-1860.

The Wood County Prosecutor’s Office will be staffed Saturday from 6:30 a.m.- 7:30 p.m. when the polls close. Anyone wishing to contact the office with possible election law violations and concerns can call 304-424-1776.

The county commissioners will convene as the board of canvass at 9 a.m. Dec. 3 at the courthouse.

The only issue on the special election ballot will be renewal of the excess levy for Wood County Schools.

If approved, the levy would be for five more years, with the total raised annually to be approximately $16,769,716.

Rhodes earlier estimated election costs will be around $85,000. The county will pay for the upfront election costs with the board of education to reimburse for the expenses of the special Saturday election.