By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Of the five municipalities within Tucker County, three will be hosting 2020 town and city elections. Elections dates and locations have changed slightly as a result from the COVID-19 pandemic, though all filing dates have now passed.
Hambleton will observe their local election on June 2. The Hambleton Town Hall at 105 Fifth Street will serve as a polling place from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. It is asked that voters remain in their vehicles and a poll worker will bring a ballot to you to cast your vote. Those appearing on the ballot are: for Mayor, Glenn A. Summerfield, for Recorder, Michael Griffith, and vying for council members are Charles Lloyd, Laura Poling, Chad Smith, Mike Roy, Matthew Phillips, and Russell Helmick. Five choices can be marked for the council member positions.
Parsons, the county seat, will be running their election in conjunction with the county which will be held Tuesday, June 9. The two polling places will be the Tucker County Courthouse and St. Paul’s Church. As registered voters residing within city limits enter to vote in the primary election at these two locations, they will see separate voting booths, one for the primary ballot and the other for the city. The Parsons City ballot will consist of the following candidates: Mayor Dorothy Judy, Recorder Bruce Kolsun, Ward One Councilmember for two years, Melissa Jones, Ward One Councilmember for four years, David Greenlief, Sr., and for consideration of Ward Two Councilmember for two years, Kathy DiBacco and Michael Matlick.
The city of Thomas will be holding their election on July 21, 2020 at the Thomas City Hall. For registered voter’s consideration, the ballot will list those filed as the following: Mayor, Matt Quattro, Four Year Councilmember (select two), Junior Davis, Erika Smith, and Joe Dumire, and Two Year Councilmember (select one), Brandon Zirk, Charles Davis, and Kim Johnson.
In addition to strongly encouraging voting via absentee ballot and decreasing the polling staff from five to three individuals, additional safety precautions are being taken during Election Day. At the Tucker County Commission meeting on Wednesday, County Clerk Sherry Simmons announced several precautions being taken as well as guidelines voters need to be aware of as they cast their vote. “Our goal is to provide a safe environment for the voters of Tucker County,” began Simmons. Even with the risks involved, it is the responsibility of the staff and officials to serve and support the county, which is vital for the community. “To assure that we can accomplish this is to absentee vote,” she said, which is highly recommended and strongly encouraged.
“As of yesterday (May 12), the absentee ballot requested and processed is 1,528, ballots returned 945, and ballots to be returned 583,” said Simmons. As a comparison, she stated that the totals from the 2016 primary presidential election resulted in 2,613 votes casted. The deadline to hand deliver an absentee ballot is June 8 or they must be postmarked by June 9. “For voters who have requested an absentee ballot, please vote your ballot and return,” Simmons said. Anything not meeting these criteria will not be counted.
If voters do not wish to take advantage of this option, another consideration would be to early vote. This can be done on the second floor of the Tucker County Courthouse Annex from May 27 until June 6 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. In addition to two Saturday dates of May 30 and June 6, also from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The deadline to early vote will be Saturday, June 6.
The Primary Election Day will be observed Tuesday, June 9 at voters’ respected polling places from 6 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Precinct Five, traditionally housed at the Board of Education building, will be relocated to the main floor corridor of the Courthouse.
Simmons highlighted suggestions for those working the polls, stating, “It is recommended that no more than two individuals from the public be permitted to vote at the same time.” Workers have the authority to limit voters according to their discretion. “We encourage the six feet social distancing,” Simmons continued, as well as recommend face coverings to be worn by all voters. If voters or poll workers are experiencing any flu like symptoms, they are not permitted to enter the polling place. “Precincts may operate with no less than three poll workers and it will be the responsibility of the poll workers to keep their area sanitized,” she added.
“It has always been customary to have election night festivities here in the old court room, under the guidance of the health department, gatherings of 25 or more are not allowed,” stated Simmons. It is for this reason she requested the Tucker County Commission close the Courthouse on election night. Commission President Lowell Moore along with Commissioners Jon Bush and Fred Davis agreed. “We will do our best to have everything posted online and on the door,” assured Simmons.
The results will be posted on the doors of the Courthouse or can be viewed at www.sos.wv.gov.
“Please know that despite the current situation, our intent is to supply a continued and constant level of support to our citizens, thank you for your continued understanding, it is appreciated and not taken for granted,” concluded Simmons. “Please reach out to us if we can be of assistance.”