WHEELING - The 2014 election season starts Wednesday in West Virginia when early voting opens across the state.
The state's primary election is May 13. Residents can cast early ballots, for any reason, Wednesday through May 10.
In Ohio, primary election day is May 6. Early absentee voting at the county election board offices currently is underway in the Buckeye State.
Photo by Joselyn King
Toni Chieffalo, coordinator of elections in Ohio County, checks a voting machine prior to its use for early voting beginning Wednesday.
In West Virginia, the hours for early voting in Tyler County have changed for this election, as the county clerk's office will be open extended hours. Residents will be able to cast ballots between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the courthouse on Wednesday and Thursday, and again May 5-8. The office also will be open for voting from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Friday, and during the same hours again on May 9.
The times for voting in other counties are as follows:
Brooke County - early voting hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day except Sunday;
Hancock County - voters can cast ballots between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each weekday;
Marshall County - hours for voting are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday;
Ohio County - voting hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day except Sunday; and
Wetzel County - voting hours are 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Wednesday and on Friday. The polls close 30 minutes earlier at 4 p.m. on Thursdays.
Polls in all counties also will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and on the last day for voting, May 10. All county clerks offices are closed on Sundays.
In Ohio County, there are contested Democratic and Republican primary elections for two third 3rd District seats in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Voters also will select three Ohio County Board of Education members from among seven candidates. An Ohio Valley Regional Transportation Authority bus levy and a school levy renewal also will come before voters.
Statewide, there are contested primaries for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. Three Republicans are seeking the nomination - U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, Larry Butcher and Matthew Dodrill. Three Democrats - Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, David Wamsley and Dennis Melton - face off for that party's nomination.
In Ohio, there is a contested Democrat primary for the 6th Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio. The top vote-getter between Jennifer Garrison and Greg Howard will advance to the November general election to face Johnson for the seat.
Toni Chieffalo, coordinator of elections for Ohio County, said 2014 has thus far been a quiet election year in the county.
"I don't think there will be a big turnout, but it's still important to get out and vote," she said.
Voter identification is required for first time voters, while those residents casting their first ballots need to bring their voter registration cards with them to the polls. No identification is required for established voters, but Chieffalo suggests they bring a registration card or driver's license with them. The address on the identification assists poll workers with processing the voter, she said.
In Ohio, in-person absentee voting is taking place at county board of elections prior to the May 6 primary election there. Residents have until Saturday to request an absentee ballot from their respective county board of elections. These must be returned to the board office by the close of polls at 7:30 p.m. on May 6.