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Early voting concludes in West Virginia


The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va.  — By Wednesday, about 30,000 West Virginians had cast early ballots in a special election to decide a road bond referendum in the state — with Ohio County recording more than 1,100 votes cast.

Wednesday marked the last day for early voting on the referendum, which asks West Virginians whether the West Virginia Legislature should have the authority to borrow $1.6 billion in general obligation bonds to pay for a large slate of road projects across the state.

Polls will open for Election Day at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, and close at 7:30 p.m.

Steven Allen Adams, assistant communications director for the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, reported the number of early votes submitted in the election at the start of the day on Wednesday at 29,222 statewide. Final numbers won’t be available until sometime today.

There are over 1.2 million registered voters in West Virginia, and he lists voter turnout so far at just 2.45 percent.

The turnout was better in Ohio County, where 1,146 cast ballots by the end of the day on Wednesday. The county has 28,454 registered voters, and has a turnout so far of about 4 percent.

Turnout is likely to be higher in the Northern Panhandle, where a $172 million project has been proposed to revitalize bridges along Interstate 70 in Ohio County. Another $80 million would be spent to widen W.Va. 2 to four lanes between Proctor and Kent in Marshall County.

Marshall County reported having 708 early voters; Wetzel County, 492; Hancock County, 312; Brooke County, 294; and Tyler County, 230.

The total casting early ballots in the six Northern Panhandle counties comes to 3,182 — or roughly 10 percent of all early votes cast in the state’s 55 counties.

The road bond referendum is the only issue in the special election, which is being conducted on a paper ballot. State officials estimate the cost of the election at $2.8 million.

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