Update: Early voting ends; election day is Tuesday

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) Update: 11/5/2018

Early voting ended Saturday in West Virginia, and Monday afternoon in Ohio.

And, in many places, it broke records for a national, mid-term election.

In Wood County, 11,668 of the county's 56,988 registered voters cast ballots between October 24 and November 3. That's 20.4% of those registered to vote.

Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes hopes the large early turnout means fewer lines at precinct polling places Tuesday.

"And the ballot is smaller, so lines should not be very long, Rhodes says. "People (have voted) the ballot quickly during early voting, so hopefully, there is not a long line on election day."

In Washington County, 8,469 took part in early and absentee voting during October and early November.

In both states, polls for election day will be open at 6:30 A.M. Tuesday, and will close at 7:30 P.M.

The county clerk's and board of elections' websites have information on where your polling place is located, and we have a link to them at The Hot Button.

Update: 11/2/2018

The latest figures prove what has been reported during the past month: in West Virginia and Ohio, this has been a very busy early voting season.

In West Virginia, as of Thursday morning, more than 121,000 registered voters had cast early ballots or turned in absentee ballots.

Through Thursday, more than 8,400 people had taken part in early voting at Wood County locations. That's 2,000 more than who had voted in the mid-term elections of 2014, and nearly half the number who cast ballots in 2016.

Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes says about 800 people a day took part in early voting-unitl earlier this week, when community voting sites opened in Vienna, Williamstown, Mineral Wells and Lubeck.

"With the satellite sites, we're hitting 14-1500 (a day)," Rhodes says. "We've already surpassed the November, 2014 mid-term election was."

"We've probably already had 3,000 people walk into our office, and a little more than 5,000 (absentee ballots) that we've mailed," says Peggy Byers, Deputy Washington County Elections Director. "It's been a very, very busy season."

Early voting continues through Saturday at the Donald F. Black annex in Parkersburg, and at the satellite locations.

It continues all weekend-and until early Monday afternoon-at the Washington County Board of Elections on Davis Avenue in Marietta.

As for absentee ballots, the deadline in West Virginia to request one was Wednesday, October 31st.

They have to be postmarked by election day to be counted in the final vote totals.

Ohio voters have until noon Saturday to request an absentee ballot, and they have to be returned in person or by mail.

Byers says, however, with mail no longer cancelled in Marietta, it's doubtful they could be sent to Washington County voters on time.

They have to be postmarked by Monday, November 5, and arrive at the board of elections office within 10 days of election day, to be counted.

Update: 10/24/2018

When early voting for the November 6 election opened in Wood County at 8:30 Wednesday morning, there were people waiting in line outside the Donald F. Black Annex.

County Clark Mark Rhodes says 71 people cast ballots in just the first half hour. By 10:30 A.M., the number was up to 200.

And Rhodes says that doesn't count the number of people requesting-and returning-absentee ballots.

<"We have had 340 absentee ballots out since (Tuesday). In the last midterm election, we only had 290 throughout the whole time frame. So there's still about a week to request an absentee ballot.">

Rhodes says the high numbers are not causing delays, since the ballots themselves are relatively short.

Aside from races at the state level, including U.S. Senate, West Virginia Supreme Court and legislature, the main local races are for one county commission seat and the Wood County Schools excess levy renewal.


Wood County officials Monday geared up for the start of early voting on Wednesday, with the required tests of machines voters will use to cast their ballots.

Early voting in Wood County will be held from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. weekdays, and 9 A.M.-5 P.M. Saturdays, at the Donald F. Black Annex on Market Street in Parkersburg.

And beginning Tuesday, October 30, community, or satellite voting will begin at the city buildings in Vienna and Williamstown, and volunteer fire departments in Lubeck and Mineral Wells.

Early voting sites will not be open Sundays.

The last day for early voting is Saturday, November 3, 2018. After that, voters can cast ballots on election day at their designated polling places.

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