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Early voting begins today in Martinsburg

May 21, 2008

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- "No-excuse" early voting begins today at 9 a.m., giving Martinsburg's more than 11,300 registered voters the opportunity to decide who should occupy three contested city council seats and whether a police levy should be renewed.

Mayor George Karos and ward council members Richard L. Yauger, Max G. Parkinson, Roger Lewis and Betty B. Gunnoe are running unopposed in the June 10 municipal election.

Registered voters who want to cast their ballots before the election next month can come to the second floor of City Hall, where voting will be held Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., officials said. City residents also can vote early on two Saturdays prior to the election, May 31 and June 7, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., City Recorder Sharon Flick said.

City voters will be asked to vote on the renewal of the city's police levy, which pays the salaries of nine officers and generates money for department equipment. The rate of the levy currently in effect was not changed.

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In the council races, two candidates, Republican Dennis J. Etherington of 501 S. Georgia Ave., and Democrat Jason W. Baker of 735 W. John St., are vying for the Ward I seat.

Citywide, four residents -- Republican Kevin Knowles of 125 Pennsylvania Ave., and Democrats Glenville L. "Twiggy" Twigg of 110 N. Centre St., Gregg M. Wachtel of 1401 W. King St. and Rodney Woods of 906 Hillcrest Drive, are vying for council-at-large seats. All residents have the opportunity to vote on the two at-large seats, now held by Wachtel and Woods.

Precinct locations for the municipal election are as follows:

· Precinct 1 -- St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 700 New York Ave.

· Precinct 2 -- Ambrose Towers, 703 Porter Ave.

· Precincts 5 and 6 -- Martinsburg South Middle School, 150 Bulldog Blvd.

· Precinct 7 -- Burke Street Elementary School, 422 W. Burke St.

· Precincts 8 and 10 -- Tuscarora Elementary School, 2000 Tavern Road

· Precincts 9 and 11 -- Rosemont Elementary School, 301 S. Alabama Ave.

· Precinct 14 -- Berkeley Senior Services, 217 N. High St.

· Precinct 15 -- Martinsburg North Middle School, 105 East Road

· Precinct 17 -- Otterbein United Methodist Church, 549 N. Queen St.

Polls will be open June 10 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 11,315 city residents were registered to vote, according to the Berkeley County Voter Registration Office.

The unofficial tally of more than 20,000 ballots cast in last week's primary election included votes from 3,448 Martinsburg residents, according to the Voter Registration Office.

Tuesday was the last day to register to vote in the city's election. Applications for absentee ballots by mail will be accepted through June 4, Flick said.

More information about absentee ballots can be obtained by calling Flick at 304-264-2131.

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