Today is the first day of early voting in Ohio for the Nov. 6 General Election, with West Virginia starting its process Oct. 24.
Of course it's a presidential election year, but are you aware it's also a ballot that will include state and county races as well as levies and other issues?
These are the local officials who will represent us and the levies that will support our safety forces.
In Columbiana County, voters will see contested races for U.S. Congress, a state Representative, two commissioners, sheriff, treasurer and recorder.
Local levies include roads in East Liverpool, police protection in both Liverpool Township and Salineville, fire protection in Wellsville and St. Clair Township, floodwall maintenance in Wellsville, and liquor options in precincts such as St. Clair and Madison townships.
In Hancock County, contested races include U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, governor, secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer, attorney general, state Senate, two House of Delegates, two seats on county commission, sheriff and three county magistrates.
In Ohio, early voting takes place weekdays, today through Nov. 5, held locally at the Columbiana County Board of Elections.
The times are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 2-19 (closed Oct. 8 for Columbus Day), 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 22 to Nov. 1, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 2. Check with the office for the time on Monday, Nov. 5.
A reminder also that the last day to register to vote is Oct. 9 - a week from today.
Early voting in West Virginia begins Oct. 24 and runs through Nov. 3, available locally during regular business hours at the Hancock County Courthouse. There also will be Saturday voting, taking place the last two Saturdays prior to the election.
There are other options for voters who do not or can not make it to the polls. We suggest you contact your local board of elections for those options.
Hancock County voters also will decide on a bond levy for the Sheltered Workshop.
We suggest potential voters get informed about what the ballot will include. Learn what the candidates are saying. Be prepared when you enter your polling place.
Watch or read about the debates, not only the ones featuring the presidential candidates, but those on the state and local levels. Attend one if possible. Ask questions. Seek answers.
This is an important election year, especially on the state and local scene where we make decisions on who governs our corner of the world.
Do the right thing - not only by voting, but by doing your homework.