Three towns plan for April 6 local elections

In less than one week, voters in Hillsboro, Burns and the city of Marion will cast ballots for city council positions.

The spring general election will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, in three polling locations.

Hillsboro voters in Wards I and II will both go to Hillsboro City Hall, 118 E. Grand Ave., but they will vote on separate ballots, said Rhonda Toal, election clerk.

In Ward I, Shelby Dirks is the only candidate vying for the council seat. In Ward II, Byron McCarty is also running unopposed.

With only three council seats available and four candidates vying for a spot, voters in Burns will be marking their ballots at Burns Community Center, 301 N. Washington.

Candidates competing for one of the three seats are Roland Boesker, Daniel S. Huls II, Patricia Nystrom and Andrew Selley.

Another contested race is in the city of Marion with Councilor Steve Smith seeking to unseat incumbent Mayor Mary Olson.

In the council race, two seats opened up when Gene Winkler and Stacy Collett chose not to seek another term.

Vying for those two position are Jerry Kline, Chris Meierhoff and Dick Varenhorst.

Voters in Marion will go to the polls at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 229 N. Walnut.

Generally, city elections alone have a lower turnout, averaging about 25 percent or less turnout.

In 2007, Burns beat the average with a 30 percent turnout and Hillsboro had 34 percent voter turnout, Toal said.

The number of eligible voters in next week?s election at Hillsboro is 1,647 (758 in Ward I and 889 in Ward II); Marion has 1,217 voters and Burns, 97.

Mayor?s race

Following allegations of misconduct during a special city council meeting March 12, Olson did not attend the candidate forum March 14 on advice of her attorney Tim Hodge of Newton.

But since that time, she came out with a statement that she is confident she will not be found liable for any wrong-doing.

?I regret being precluded from participating in the candidate forum a few weeks ago,? Olson stated. ?Given the surprising circumstances and, at the advice of my attorney, it was determined I could not participate.?

Olson said she had also hoped the investigation would be completed prior to the election, but her attorney indicated it wouldn?t be wrapped up by that time.

?At this time, I am focusing on the campaign and the issues facing Marion,? she stated. ?I thank all of you for the support you?ve given me and welcome your comments and questions regarding our city. ?

Smith, who has served two years on the council, said during the candidate forum that volunteers are needed to step up and do their part to help Marion.

He said he sees the role of mayor as someone who is a good representative.

?The mayor has to listen to both sides and have leadership qualities and be a representative of that city,? he said.

Smith also said he would like to see the community work together as a team.

For more information, call Carol Maggard, election officer, or Toal at 620-382-2185.

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