New voting machines introduced during low turnout, off-year election –
Story and photo by Patricia Beech –
Another election is in the books as 2,361,029 Ohio residents, or 29.86 percent of the state’s eligible voters, turned out to cast ballots Tuesday.
In Adams County, 33.64 percent of voters turned out to cast 5,753 ballots across the county’s 23 precincts. An additional 65 absentee ballots and 40 provisional ballots were cast, but will not be counted until ten days after the election.
Voters who cast a provisional ballot because they were not able to provide proper ID at the polls may return to the county Board of Elections within seven days of Election Day to provide an acceptable form of ID to have their ballot counted.
According to Election Board Chairman Roy Gabbert, voting across Adams County precincts went smoothly despite the introduction of new voting machines.
“As with any new technology there are a lot of highs and lows, but in the long term, these electronic voting machines will be a good thing for the county,” Gabbert said. “They’re more secure, there’s less chance of fraud or duplicate voting, but like any new technology it doesn’t always work perfectly at first.”
Gabbert said the machines were introduced in an off-year election when voter turnout is traditionally low.
“We wanted to introduce the machines in a lower turnout election year to enable us to deal with some of the glitches,” he said. “Everything went smoothly and no one had to wait more than 15-20 minutes to vote, so what we learned today will make the next election better.”
Local voters in Tuesday’s election were asked to weigh in on several issues, levies, and candidates running for school board, village, and township seats.
Only one of the three Ohio Valley School Board incumbent candidates will retain a seat after Tuesday’s vote.
Judy M. Campbell, who has served 10 years on the board, led all the candidates with 2,308 votes, while fellow incumbents John E. Lewis with 921 votes and Tom Reed with 1,594 votes lost their seats to challengers Gay Lynn Shipley (2,187 votes) and David Riley (1,670 votes).
Campbell praised both her fellow incumbent candidates and the challengers who won the seats.
“I appreciate the service we’ve received from both Tom Reed and John Lewis – they have made significant contributions to the board” said Campbell. “I believe that the new members will bring new ideas that will help to move us forward. Shipley is a great asset with her curriculum and assessment knowledge and David Riley has shown such interest by attending our board meetings in the past. I think they will both serve the district well.”
Newly elected board member, Gay Lynn Shipley, said she is looking forward to working with the other four board members.
“I want us to work as a team to develop our expertise and strengths, and to determine how we can best meet the needs of the community,” she said. “I really appreciate the interests of everyone who ran for school board, and I think it’s important to recognize those folks because they care about the community and they were willing to stand up and serve. There’s plenty for all of us to do – five people alone can’t get it done, so I want to reach out to anyone who’s interested in helping to advance our community and do what’s good for our students.”
In the Manchester Local School District, incumbent candidates Kathleen F. Stacy and Richard K. Foster won their bids for re-election with 465 and 424 votes respectively. They will be joined by Dana Thornburg, who picked up 374 votes.
“I’m thankful that we’ve retained stability on the board,” said Foster. “We’ve had some administrative changes, and some turnover in the classrooms, so I felt it was very important to have stability on the board to continue moving forward, and to follow through with plans that we’ve been discussing for some time.”
In village council races, the majority of incumbents across the county won their re-election bids.
West Union residents returned four incumbent candidates to seats on the village council: Mark A. Brewer with 305 votes, Randy Brewer with 351, Jason Buda with 319, and Stephen Rothwell with 323.
“We hope to keep improving the town,” said Councilman Buda, who has served 12 years on the council. “I’d like to continue making improvements to our streets and keep the town moving in the right direction.”
West Union Mayor Ted Grooms said he was pleased to see the council return intact.
“I congratulate all five candidates, and I look forward to working with those elected so we can continue with the work we’ve been doing with everyone still on board,” he said. “This is a very good council, one of the best councils I’ve ever worked with – they’re very progressive and they have great foresight.”
Manchester voters also chose to support incumbent council members.
Despite being frequently lambasted by residents who opposed their decision to disband the village police department, Teresa D. Blythe with 167 votes, Brian S. Napier and Michael F. Phipps – with 202 votes each – all won their re-election bids. They will be joined by challenger Troy A. Jolly (135 votes) who campaigned for the immediate reinstatement of the police department.
Peebles voters weighed in by returning council members Eugenia Gordley (145 votes), Kevin W. Cross (162 votes), and Wayne Setty (178 votes) to their seats, along with challenger Charles R. Countryman (186 votes), who was elected to his first term.
According to Setty, the council will stay focused on the growth of the village.
“We want annexation out to the Appalachian Highway – that’s my goal and the goal of the council,” Setty said. “We want to expand and continue improving the town’s appearance.”
In Seaman, voters elected Mike Tolle (144), Robert G. Wright =(136), Bill Shelby (123), and David Merfert (111) to Council seats, =and in Winchester voters supported Kevin D. Carpenter (94), Crystal L. Platt (87), and Aaron Swackhammer (115).
In other village elections, Deborah K. Clinger ran unopposed and was elected to serve on the Manchester Board of Public Affairs receiving 242 complimentary votes. Shelly Gifford was also unopposed and won the West Union Treasurer’s seat with 431 votes, and Rebecca Chandler was elected to the Winchester Board of Public Affairs with 133 votes.
Winners in uncontested Township Trustee races included: Alan Clough (186) and Wayne Hanson (187) in Bratton Township; Allen D. Horsley (87) and Lawrence Shivener (109) in Jefferson Township; Mark Morgan (248) and Earl D. Ruark (207) in Manchester Township; Sam Baldwin (93) and Susan K. Lee (77) in Monroe Township; David Abbott (257) and Tommy Lee Mefford (238) in Sprigg Township; Richard M. Dryden (741) and Greg B. Grooms (621) in Tiffin Township; Steven W. Leonard (170) and Jimmy Tadlock (205) in Wayne Township; and in Winchester Township Kirk Bunn (273) and Mike Swackhammer (296).
In contested Township Trustee races the winners were: J.B. Hayslip (196) and Rick Storer (166) in Brush Creek Township; Ronald E. Anderson (174) and Jeff Evans (176) in Franklin Township; John R. Easter (128) and Wesley Taylor (107) in Green Township; Jason Baldwin (292) and Wendell W. Swearingen (251) in Liberty Township; Paul Baker (408) and Bill Setty (348) in Meigs Township; Quintin Baker (175) and Ethan Lightcap (133) in Oliver Township; and in Scott Township, Sam Bolender (206) and Jason Hupp (236).