Voters in Jefferson and Belmont Counties are taking advantage of early voting and extended board of election hours that started Wednesday. More than 15,000 people have already voted absentee or requested a ballot.
“(Early voting was) very very easy. It’s a lot easier than other times I’ve absentee voted in other states, but this was quite simple. No hassle. No muss, no fuss. No crowds, which was very good, and I didn’t have to run into anyone on my way in to try to sway my vote,” said Jefferson County voter Kim Shinall.
“A lot of people just like to come into our offices while they’re thinking about it (rather) than waiting until election day in case there’s a emergency or they get busy and don’t have the opportunity to get to the polls,” said Jefferson County Board of Elections director Diane Gribble.
The entire process takes about five minutes, but if you prefer traditional day-of voting, they’re ready for you, too.
“The polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., so that is plenty of time for people to get there,” Gribble added. “But some people are called out of town or maybe have family members that they need to attend to, so it’s better to just get it taken care of in advance.”
“If you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain about it,” said Shinall.
Shinall will be out of the state on November 8th, but says that’s no excuse not to vote.
“Let your voice be heard,” she added. “That is the only way that changes are going to take place.”
More than 5,600 people in Jefferson County and 10,000 people in Belmont county agree with her and have already voted early or requested an absentee ballot, they’re expecting thousands more.
“Right now we’re just keeping up with the absentee ballots. Election day: we’ve already tested all of the machines. They’re under lock and key ready to go out for the election,” said Gribble.
“Being able to vote in this election is very important for a variety of reasons, and I won’t go into my reasons,” Shinall said. “Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost sight of what really matters, and all you have to do is read the constitution to find that out.”
For specifics on the extended weekday and weekend hours in Ohio go to www.ElectionsOnThe.net, then just select your county when the map pops up.
Meantime in West Virginia, you still have a few more days, until October 18th, to register for the November 8th election. Early voting will begin October 26.