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Elections director McCabe to retire

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Board of Elections will soon say goodbye to Director Kelly McCabe, who is planning to retire July 30.

McCabe started work in the board office as a clerk in 2004. In 2006 she was named to the position of deputy director, and in 2019 she took the helm as director. McCabe led the board through the move to a new building in 2019, as well as through the 2020 presidential election.

“We went right from the November general election to first a pandemic in the middle of the primary, the pandemic all next year and then the general election,” she said. “It was quite an eventful year.”

“She brought us to this,” board member Frankie Lee Carnes said. “Security, new machinery.”

Carnes added that maintaining and strengthening security will remain a priority going forward.

“They’ll have to keep up with all the law changes,” McCabe said, adding she takes away many fond memories.“I love elections. This has been my favorite job. It’s demanding, but it’s also rewarding.”

“As the chairman she’s the only director I’ve had, and I would’ve been perfectly content if she was the only director I ever had,” board Chairman Michael Shaheen said.

Shaheen added that the board will be looking for experienced candidates to fill McCabe’s shoes.

“We need someone who is extremely organized,” Shaheen said. “We need somebody who’s a progressive thinker like Kelly was. We need somebody who has the ability to adjust at the drop of a hat, because that 2020 general election … there had to be a dozen times the director and deputy director thought we were on one course and then they got a different directive. You don’t have any time.”

McCabe added she leaves the elections board office in a good position, with employees and board members dedicated to conducting fair and accurate elections regardless of political differences.

“We’ve all worked very hard. I have a great staff,” she said.

The board will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. June 1 to interview candidates for the position of director or of deputy director. The board will consider whether Deputy Director Aaron Moore will take on the lead position or if it will be filled by someone else. McCabe is a Republican and Moore a Democrat. If the director is of one party, the deputy director must be of the other party.

McCabe looks forward to spending more time with family.

In other matters, the board held the official count of the May 4 primary election. In the contested 4th Ward race for the Democratic nomination, incumbent Rick Rodgers defeated challenger Pamela Shrodes with 41 votes to 21 votes.

Shrodes received one more absentee vote than was reported on Election Day that was postmarked prior to the election, and a blank ballot was cast on Election Day for a total of 63 votes.

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