March 31, 2005

Ballot Light On Races Likely Means Low Voter Turnout for April 5th Election

Voters will be heading to the polls on April 5, hopefully in greater numbers than the small number of candidates that filed for offices on the ballot, as a number of the ballot issues are either unopposed or even minus actual announced candidates.

In addition to the one tax issue, there are just four school or municipal ballots that offer choices for the voters. The remainder either have unopposed candidates or blank lines for offices for which no candidates filed.

Due to the limited number of races, election officials are anticipating low voter turnout.

The cent capital sales tax for the county road and bridge department is one issue that effects all of Scotland County.

The ballot issue is simply a renewal of the tax, which has been in place since 1986 and is required by law to be renewed by voters every four years.

The tax generates roughly 1/6 of the road and bridge departments annual budget and is earmarked for capital purchases such as machinery, bridge packages, and other construction materials.

There are two other races that effect the majority of Scotland County residents.

Voters will elect one board member for the Scotland County Nursing Home District. Three candidates, Sandra K. Remley, Sandra K. Ebeling and Kathy Miller, are vying for the one three-year term on the governing board for the Scotland County Care Center.

The Scotland County R-I School Board also has a race with four candidates on the ballot for three openings on the board of education.

Incumbents Paul Campbell, George Koontz and Scott Brassfield are joined on the ballot by Michele Drummond.

Just a handful of voters in Scotland County actually reside in the Knox County School District, which has a similar race with four candidates for three openings. The neighboring school district to the south also has a $1.63 million loan issue on the ballot.

The Wyaconda C-I School District has four openings on the board of education. Joseph B. Humes and Clifford E. Knupp are the lone candidates on the ballot. Voters will be asked to write in a third candidate for a three-year term. In addition there is a write-in space for a one-year unexpired term on the board of education.

The municipal ballots cover a wide variety of races. Both Arbela and Rutledge have full ballots, while Memphis has two unopposed candidates and both Granger and Gorin will be run by write-in candidates.

In the Village of Rutledge, voters will choose between Carol McCabe, Patsy Charlene Montgomery, Neta L. Phillips, and Glada Shultz to fill two, two-year terms on the board of trustees.

The same situation exists in Arbela where voters will decide two seats on the villages board of trustees from among the following four candidates: Gordon J. Wiley, Sandra K. Remley, Karen Simpson and Pat Johnson.

In Memphis, a pair of incumbents is running unopposed for the city council. Alderman Lucas Remely is seeking reelection in the West Ward while Ron Gardner is seeking another term as East Ward Alderman.

The council has yet to appoint a mayor to replace Ron Alexander who resigned in March. Filing for the April election had already closed, preventing election officials from placing the issue on the ballot. The council is expected to appoint a mayor at the April 7 council meeting to complete the unexpired term. If a current alderman is appointed to the position, then the mayor will appoint an alderman to fill that vacancy until the next election.

City voters also have a line to write in a candidate for city tax collector. The position remains on the ballot despite the fact that it is unpaid and has no duties since the city has contracted with the county for all tax-collection services.

Voters in Granger and Gorin will have to do a lot of writing. There are no candidates for the Granger board of trustees, which has openings for three two-year terms. In Gorin there is a vacancy for both an east ward and west ward alderman.

A number of other governing boards will not appear on the ballots due to a recent law change.

The Gorin R-III School Board, Consolidated Public Water Supply District #1, Scotland County Memorial Hospital, the Scotland County Health Department and the Scotland County Ambulance District were not required to place ballots before voters because their races for board members were unopposed.

The Gorin R-III District has two candidates, William Roach and Michael Parrish for two three-year terms. Larry Mohr was the lone filing for a one-year unexpired term.

The water district saw incumbent Dorsey Swearingen file for reelection in sub-district #1.

The ambulance district has two incumbents running unopposed for reelection. Ron Tinkle will again serve sub-district #2 while Don Harvey returns to serve sub-district #3.

Long-time chairman Hollis Boyer will return as a board member for the Scotland County Memorial Hospital serving sub-district #3.

The Scotland County Health Department had one one-year unexpired term filled by Sue Payne. The three regular terms on the board were filed for by Connie Goodwin, Loraine Kapfer and Gretchen Harrelson.

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