June 18, 2014

Time to fill city council vacancies

By STU MERRY

The 2014 Primary Election is history. The list of write-in candidates for Garrison City Council and other municipalities in the county has been released. Names were tabulated Monday at the courthouse in Washburn during canvassing of ballots. Prior to that time, it was not known who write-in candidates were. County officials do not compile the list of write-ins for an office until ballots are canvassed.

Dave Reinarts, who had filed for a council seat in Garrison, received 332 votes. Two other council seats will be filled by write-in. Three of the top four write-ins are previous council members: Chad Betz received 26, while Steve Hasenwinkel and Chris Gratton each received eight. Paul Schlichting, a former parks & rec. board member, also received eight write-ins.

County Auditor Les Korgel said there were 22 other write-in names. None received more than 2-3 votes and were not listed in the abstract. Korgel said the numbers were insignificant.

Now the "ask" begins for all municipalities; calls by city officials to see who will agree to fill the remaining vacancies. Garrison Auditor Diane Affeldt said century code states the person having the highest number of votes for any municipal office shall be declared elected to such office. Remaining seats will be filled according to the rules for filling an office when a vacancy exists.

It was a long day for the McLean County Canvassing Board. Officials began at 9 a.m. Nearly 12 hours later the work was complete. Why so long? Commissioners said the biggest headache was the large number of write-ins. Without write-ins, canvassing generally takes 2-3 hours.

What proved time consuming Monday was a Garrison ballot that officials spent about two hours looking for, finding it with ballots from another city.


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