Josh Justice

Josh Justice exits the poll place in Monongah after voting Tuesday.

FAIRMONT — With council and mayoral seats on the ballot, turnout Tuesday in the Monongah municipal election was above average.

“I think it’s going to be a close election, and I’m glad to see everyone is turning out,” said Becky Carvillano, election commissioner.

According to poll worker Connie Warash, 129 people voted as 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Counting the votes cast during early voting, the total was 239, she said.

She said only 70 or 80 voters turned out for the last election.

Carvillano thought the high turnout was the result of the competition in this year’s races.

In Monongah, two candidates were running for mayor – newcomer Johnboy Palmer and incumbent Greg Vandetta. Five council seats were up for grabs, with nine candidates on the ballot. The candidates were Aaron B. Justice, Adam Michna, Brenda Manzo, Roger Huffman, Charlie Parker, Don Harris, Susan Sanders, Cathy Wildman and John Ed Palmer.

One voter, Beth Carnes, said she was voting for Palmer for mayor.

She said he had been a fellow classmate of hers.

“I actually want someone that is a little bit younger, and can relate to the younger people around here and can get something in here for the kids,” she said.

In Rivesville, 79 people had come to the polls as of 5:02 p.m. Tuesday, according to poll workers. This didn’t include the 48 early voters who had cast ballots during early voting.

Election Commissioner Mike Rogers said it was “pretty close to average.”

In Rivesville, seven candidates were vying for three council seats. They were Blair Spiecher, Lauronza Harmon, Noelle Kolb, Frank Moore, Barb Beatty, Jim Hershman and Michelle Bradley. Yvonne Libreto was unopposed on the ballot for the mayor race, but Bill Lawrence ran as a write-in campaign.

One voter, Ed Mahalick, who formerly served as mayor twice, said he has voted in every election since he turned 18 years old.

“It’s good,” he said of the competition in the races. “I’m glad to see people wanting to get involved with this community.”

He said voting is important to him.

“I think if you don’t vote, you’re losing your voice.”

Shane Kirtner, a field service representative with the West Virginia Secretary of State Office, was visiting the polling places to see if everything was set up correctly and if there were any problems.

He stopped by the Rivesville polling place and talked with Rogers.

Kirtner said there hadn’t been any problems.

Voters also went to the polls in Farmington, White Hall, Fairview and Worthington.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.