Voters can still cast early ballots

Out of the 43,000 registered voters in Washington County, fewer than 5 percent have come forward to vote so far in the primary election.

Polling day is Tuesday, but voting machines at the county board of elections office on Davis Avenue have been open for early in-person voting for weeks.

“It’s really a low primary turnout,” said Peggy Byers, deputy director of the board of elections. “It’s a little more than we had at this point in the 2014 election.”

As of Friday evening, 1,740 people had voted in person and as of Thursday night the office had received 398 returned absentee ballots by mail. Byers said 662 people had requested ballots by mail.

Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Monday to be counted, she said, noting that just dropping the ballot in the mail on Monday won’t do it — it has to be postmarked, which means taking it in person to the post office, or alternately delivering it by hand to the election office.

Early voting continues through the weekend and into Monday, she said. Polls will be open at the board of elections office, 204 Davis Ave., Suite B, on Saturday from 8 a.m.. to 7 p.m., Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On Election Day, polling places across the county will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. To find your polling place, go to washingtongov.org, go to the board of elections page and click on “find my polling place.”

The local contested races in the primary all are on the Republican ticket, with Jeremy Barton, Kevin Ritter and Ray Witten all seeking the nomination to run for county commission in November to replace Rick Walters; John Triplett Jr. and John Halliday running for the commons pleas court judge nomination to replace Randall Burnworth; and Daniel Everson and Matthew Livengood, both write-in candidates, seeking the nomination for county auditor to replace Bill McFarland.

Voters can register as Republicans, Democrats or Independents, or those who just want to vote on the levy proposals can request an “issues only” ballot without declaring a party affiliation, Byers said.

In addition to making choices about who will run for local offices in November for each of the major parties, voters also will make decisions about whether to fund proposals from their local service agencies.

Palmer, East and West Muskingum and Marietta townships all have measures on the ballot asking voters to commit property taxes to emergency services.

Palmer Township trustee Randy Pugh said the 0.67-mill levy for emergency services there is expected to raise about $10,000 a year for five years for the local department if it passes. It would raise the tax on a $100,000 home by just over $23 a year, he said, according to calculations done by the county auditor office.

“The problem is, we’re required to furnish fire and emergency services, and more and more we’ve got people calling when it’s not really an emergency, so we’re spending more and more all the time,” he said. “It’s gotten to the point where we need some help. We hate to do it, we know money’s tight, but it’s come down to the point where we have to.”

Pugh said the department serves between 400 and 500 people.

The East and West Muskingum and Marietta township levy requests all are renewals, and the Barlow Township levy is a replacement.

Also on the ballot are a 0.55-mill levy to assist Washington County Children Services with the escalating costs of placing children in foster care and an 8.226-mill, 10-year request from Belpre City Schools to prevent the district from going into deficit.

At a glance

Early voting hours at the board of elections office, 204 Davis Ave., suite B:

¯ Saturday: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

¯ Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.

¯ Monday: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

¯ Election Day hours: 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m..

Where to vote on Election Day: on washingtongov.org, go to the board of elections page and click on “find my polling place.”

Previous election stories: mariettatimes.com

At a glance

Election Day: Tuesday

Local tax measures:

¯ Palmer Township, 0.67 mills (additional) , five years, ambulance and emergency medical services

¯ East Muskingum Township, 2.5 mills (renewal), five years, fire and emergency medical services

¯ West Muskingum Township, 4 mills (renewal), five years, fire and emergency medical services

¯ Barlow Township, 1.5 mills (replacement), five years, fire and emergency medical services

¯ Marietta Township, 0.5 mills (renewal) five years, fire, ambulance and emergency medical services

¯ Washington County Children Services, 0.55 mills (additional), five years, care and placement of children, foster care placement services

¯ Belpre City Schools, 8.226 mills (additional), 10 years, to avoid an operating deficit in the school district