Provisional ballots tip Marion race at the end

A Marion City Council race that was too close to call during last week?s initial election tally ended Monday with Jerry Kline defeating Richard Varenhorst by three votes for one of the two available seats.

Seven provisional ballots all with votes for Kline sealed his victory after Marion County commissioners canvassed votes Monday prior to their regular meeting.

None of the other races in Marion were affected by the provisional ballots, other than vote totals.

In the Marion mayor?s race, incumbent Mary Olson received 228 votes, an increase of two from the preliminary numbers.

Council member Steve Smith, who was vying for Olson?s seat, received five more votes to bring his total to 197, but it was not enough to unseat the incumbent.

Olson said Monday, following the canvassing of votes, that she promised to start her new term with a fresh look.

?We (the council) need to pull for the same goals,? she said, ?and get on the same page (regarding the issues important to residents and the city).

?I want to thank the voters and those who supported me,? she said.

Chris Meierhoff, who easily secured a council seat in Marion, gained an additional five votes during the canvass, taking his total from 314 to 319.

Last Tuesday?s Marion County spring election saw average to above-average voter turnout in Burns and Marion, but low turnout in Hillsboro.

Marion County Election Officer Carol Maggard said both Wards I and II in Hillsboro each had only one uncontested city council seat, which probably accounted for the 5 percent voter turnout in both wards.

In Burns, four people were running for only three council seats, prompting a higher turnout of 27 percent.

With two contested races, Marion had the highest turnout in the county at 35 percent.

The following are results from all races following Monday?s commission meeting.

? Marion mayor: Mary Olson 228, Steven L. Smith 197.

? Marion City Council: Gerald (Jerry) D. Kline 213; Chris Meierhoff 319; Richard Varenhorst 210.

? Hillsboro City Council (First Ward): Shelby Dirks 35.

? Hillsboro City Council (Second Ward): Byron McCarty 40.

? Burns City Council: Roland Boesker 13, Daniel S. Huls II 19, Patricia Nystrom 18, Andrew Selley 25.

The number of voters casting ballots in Burns, Marion and Hillsboro total 535 out of 2,982 eligible voters for an overall turnout of 18 percent.

Eligible voters in Hillsboro totaled 1,655 (759 in Ward I, 896 in Ward II). Thirty-six voters cast their ballot with three voting in advance in Ward I, and 34 ballots were cast, with nine advance ballots, in Ward II.

Burns had 97 eligible voters with 27 voting.

Marion had 1,228 eligible voters with 394 voters going to the polls and 32 casting advance ballots.

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