Written by Patty Decker Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:53
The April 3 local election in Marion County had only one contested race with five candidates vying for two city council seats in Marion.
Following the official canvas Monday, the results stayed the same with the top two spots held by Todd Heitschmidt with 177 votes and Jerry Dieter with 143 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 who the voters preferred.
Rhonda Toal, election clerk, said there were seven countable provisional ballots, which boosted Heistschmidt’s total by two votes and Dieter’s by three.
“When adding in the provisionals,” she said, “not everyone voted for two (council members) and some didn’t vote for any (candidates).”
There were 11 provisional ballots, she said, but three people were not registered to vote and one failed to provide valid identification prior to the canvas.
According to Toal, new state legislation requires everyone show identification at the voting sites.
“If you don’t have identification,” she said, “that constitutes a provisional ballot and you have until the canvas to provide one to the election officer.”
No one is turned away at the polls, Toal said, and if they cannot meet the qualifications, they vote provisionally.
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.
Results in Hillsboro, Burns
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, Maggard said, all write-in votes were addressed by the canvassing board also on Monday.
Only James Scott, who was one of the three incumbents on the Burns City Council was re-elected, but Toal said when someone wins by write-in votes, they can decline if they want.
Scott had a total of 29 votes, followed by Angie Brenzikofer with 28 and Ryan Johnson, 21.
The two other incumbents, who were not re-elected, were Daniel Huls II with 19 votes and Steve Cheuvront with 20.
Other candidates receiving write-in votes were Mark Steward with two votes, William Spangler, 11, and Gene Pearson, Ashley Brenzikofer and Stacy Brenzikofer, all with one vote each.
Other Marion County cities
Durham, Lehigh, Lost Springs and Ramona vote every four years, either re-electing or changing mayors and all city council members.
The other cities, Florence, Lincolnville, Tampa and Peabody have elections on odd years, but only Hillsboro, Marion and Burns come up every even year, she said.
“It’s based on each city’s articles of incorporation as to when elections fall and how long terms are,” Toal said.
A city can re-elect council members every two or four years.
“It can be set up in a lot of different ways,” Toal said.
Maggard explained that the city of Burns changed its organization rules so it had some alternating council members.
“This way,” Maggard 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.”
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.”