Written by Patty Decker Tuesday, 03 April 2012 20:47
The April 3 local election in Marion County had only one contested race with five candidates vying for two city council seats in Marion.
Taking the top two spots were Todd Heitschmidt with 175 votes and Jerry Dieter with 140 votes, edging incumbent Steven Smith, who received 119 votes.
The other two candidates, Richard Varenhorst and Lee Vogel, received 106 and 44 votes, respectively. Heitschmidt, Vogel and less than a handful of people were at the Marion County Courthouse Tuesday to learn firsthand wh0 the voters preferred.
Heitschmidt said he wanted to thank everyone who went to the polls, whether they voted for him or not.
“Yes, I was very happy to have won,” he said, adding that he was surprised at the vote difference in the council race. “Obviously I was out doing and saying some of the right things. Now it’s time to deliver on the things I was saying."
Vogel, who was the youngest candidate at 19, said his age likely played a big factor in not winning favor with the voters.
“I expected more (votes),” he said, “but I am considering running again in two years. Congrats to the top two (winners) who made it and good luck to them."
Carol Maggard, county clerk and election officer, said voter turnout was low with only a 25 percent turnout in Marion and less then 5 percent of the eligible voters going to the polls in Hillsboro.
Maggard said the city of Marion has 1,223 registered voters with 272 casting their ballot and 34 voting in advance.
In Hillsboro, with no contested races for two city council seats, Shelby Dirks received 34 votes in Ward I and Byron McCarty, 20, in Ward II.
“Hillsboro has 908 registered voters in Ward I and 784 in the other,” Maggard said.
“With no official candidates filing in Burns,” she added, “all write-in votes will be addressed by the canvassing board Monday, April 9.”
In the past years, she said, the city general elections have usually been in Hillsboro and Marion, but the city of Burns changed its organization rules so it had some alternating council members.
“This way,” she said, “the city didn’t replace the whole council every time an election came up. In two years, all (Marion County) cities will come back with some of their members up for re-election.”
All votes from Tuesday’s election are preliminary until after the canvas by the Marion County commissioners at their April 9 meeting.