Early voting begins today in general election

Registered voters in West Virginia can begin casting ballots in the general election starting today, as a 10-day early voting period begins statewide.

Early voting locally will take place in the first floor Morgan County Clerk’s office, from 9

a.m. to 5 p.m. today, October 24, through Saturday, November 3. The early voting period includes both Saturdays during that time, when the courthouse will be open for election activity.

Early voting closes at 5 p.m. on November 3.

Voting in 13 precincts around the county will take place on Tuesday, November 6.

A sample ballot appeared in last week’s Morgan Messenger and will be printed in the October 31 edition. The ballot is also available at the County Clerk’s office.

Commission race

The one county-level race for voters to decide is the election of a new Morgan County commissioner to a six-year term of office. Republican Commissioner Bob Ford’s seat is is up for grabs. Republican candidate Sean Forney beat Ford in the May primary.

Voters will choose from among three candidates for county commission: Forney, Democrat Stacy Schultz and Codi Ford, who is running without party affiliation.

Prosecuting Attorney Dan James is unopposed in his bid for the unexpired term of Debra McLaughlin, who left that post in 2017 when she was appointed a Circuit judge.

Longtime delegate Daryl Cowles (R-Morgan) is seeking re-election to the West Virginia House of Delegates as a representative of the 58th district, which includes parts of Morgan and Hampshire counties. Democrat Bibi Hahn of Berkeley Springs is running against Cowles in the race for a two-year term in the Legislature. Independent candidate Brooks McCumbee, of Berkeley Springs, is also seeking Cowles’ seat.

Running for a seat in the House of Delegates representing the 59th district are Democrat and political newcomer John Isner and Republican Larry Kump, a former state delegate. That district includes eastern Morgan County and parts of Berkeley County.

Berkeley Springs attorney Charles Trump is seeking another four-year term in the West Virginia Senate. The Republican senator from the 15th district faces a challenge from Independent candidate Jason Armentrout of Fort Ashby.

Local voters will also select a member of the U.S. House of Representatives to represent the residents of the 2nd Congressional district. Republican incumbent Alex Mooney faces a challenge by former Rockefeller staffer, Democrat Tally Sargent. Mountain Party candidate Daniel Lutz is also seeking the congressional seat.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is trying to hold on to his seat in this election despite a strenuous campaign by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey, a Republican with Trump campaign support, to unseat him. Libertarian candidate Rusty Hollen is also seeking the Senate seat. Ry Hutcherson is an approved write-in candidate for the federal post.

West Virginia voters will also select two members of the Supreme Court of Appeals in a special non-partisan court election. Twenty candidates are seeking to replace two justices who stepped down during recent court shake-ups – Menis Ketchum and Robin Davis.

State voters also face a yes or no choice on two amendments to the state Constitution.

Amendment one would explicitly state that nothing in the West Virginia Constitution protects the right of a state resident to an abortion or requires the state to pay for abortion services for state residents.

Amendment two would allow legislative oversight over the budget for the West Virginia

Supreme Court of Appeals as part of the annual budget appropriations process.

The full text of those amendments appears in this week’s edition.