Local election causes ballot rush



January 17, 2011 - 12:00 AM

The Flood of 2007 and the change in Iola’s city government gave immediacy to redrawing city voting wards.
To meet those changes for the April 5 ballots, County Clerk Sherrie Riebel has had to draw up 16 separate ballots to accommodate Iola district voters; and a total of 63 for county elections.
City commissioners changed ward lines to recognize the loss in populations to the Second, Third and Fourth wards caused when many Iolans were displaced by the 2007 flood. The city used utility connections to determine where concentrations of citizens lie.
The natural disaster was a legal opportunity for the city to make changes. The county, however, must use the 2010 U.S. Census figures to redraw ward lines, which will not be made available until at least 2012, Riebel said.
USD 257 member districts also followed ward lines in Iola for years, until district officials also noted that the shift in population had made them unequal. That led the district to realign its member position lines before the last BOE election in 2009.
Riebel and her staff have been a bit harried getting together all the ballots, she said. The good news is that the county now has software that permits local generation of ballots. Before this year they were done externally at a per-election cost of about $1,000, Riebel said.
“For the money we’re saving, it’s worth the effort,” she said.
The county has five polling places — Iola, Moran, Gas, Humboldt and LaHarpe — to cover its 21 precincts, plus each school district on the ballot.
When Riebel became deputy county clerk in 1993 and first was elected clerk in 1997, there were 16 voting places in the county, including four in Iola.

THE DEADLINE to file for city and school positions is noon Jan. 25.
To date all three incumbents on the Allen County Community College Board of Trustees — Spencer Ambler, Jim Talkington and Larry Manes — have filed for election.
Trustees are elected at-large throughout the county.
Two have filed for election on the USD 257 Board of Education.
Doug Dunlap has filed for re-election to position No. 3 and Mark Burris has filed for election to the at-large position, No. 7. If elected, Burris would fill the seat that has been held by his wife, Deanne Burris, for the last eight years.
A smattering of candidates have surfaced for city positions.
In Bassett, where all five council positions will be filled, Larry Crawford has filed for re-election as mayor and his wife, Carol Crawford, has filed for re-election to the council.
In Elsmore, no one has filed. The mayor’s and all five council seats will be filled.
In Gas, incumbents George Grisier and Larry Robertson have filed for re-election. A third seat to be filled on the five-member council currently is held by Jennifer McDermeit.
In Humboldt, Nobby Davis has filed for mayor. Mayor Bob Sharp announced last week he would not be a candidate for re-election. On the council, Vada Aikins has filed for re-election to position No. 1, Ward 2. Three other council seats will be filled.
In Iola eight council seats will be filled; two for each ward. Candidates are Steffen Centlivre, Nancy Ford and Scott Stewart in Ward 1; Melinda Luttrell, Dana Moodie, Beverly Franklin and Joel Wicoff in Ward 2; Jim Kilby in Ward 3; and Richard Gilliland, Jerold Kelly, Ken Rowe and Jim West in Ward 4. John Smith is the lone mayoral candidate. No one has filed for treasurer.
In LaHarpe, Ruth Jackson has filed for the council, where two seats, as well as that for mayor, will be filled.
In Mildred, no one has filed for five council seats or mayor.
In Moran, Mayor Phillip Merkel has filed for re-election, as has councilman James Mueller. Two council seats will be filled.
In Savonburg Glenn Wolfe, one of five council incumbents, has filed for re-election. No one has filed for mayor.

CANDIDATES for Iola and Humboldt city positions must file with their city clerks, while all other city candidates may file with their city clerk or at the county clerk’s office in Iola. All school candidates must file at the county clerk’s office.

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