Early or not, voting is a vital duty

Municipal elections will be held Tuesday in Elkins and Belington, giving voters a chance to make their voices heard at the local level.

We encourage all registered voters in the two towns to cast their ballots and take part in the democratic process. Of course, some voters have already cast their ballots by taking advantage of the early voting opportunities.

The last chance for the towns’ residents to vote early is today. Early voting will be available at both Elkins City Hall and Belington City Hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.

In Elkins, City Clerk Sutton Stokes said more than 200 people have voted early, which surpassed the number of early votes cast in the last few elections.

In Belington, however, not a single voter had cast an early ballot by Friday morning, officials said.

The reasons for the disparity in early voting in the two towns probably has to do with competition on the ballot. In Belington, only one City Council race is contested, with incumbent Mayor Jody Haller and three council members running unopposed.

In Elkins, however, Councilmen Van Broughton and Mark Scott are challenging incumbent Mayor Duke Talbott, and two City Council seats are contested. Stokes said there seems to be a great deal of interest in those races, which is driving the early voting turnout.

Whether you vote early today or go to the polls Tuesday, it’s important that we all take seriously our responsibility as citizens. Voting is the single act that best characterizes the American way of life, and it’s something that many people around the world would love to be able to do. Let’s not take it for granted.