County commission race too close to call
Marion County voters stood in line at polling places for upwards of two hours Tuesday to cast their ballots. At the end of the night, 58 percent of Marion County’s 7,760 registered voters cast ballots.
“That is very good for us in Marion County,” said Tina Spencer, Marion County Clerk and election officer. “I’m very excited, but I’m upset that people had to wait. I know that’s made it difficult.”
Governor Sam Brownback and Senator Pat Roberts were re-elected, but the county commissioner’s race for District 1 will not be official until Monday when the County Commissioners finalize the vote totals.
The preliminary tally has Craig Dodd leading with 670 votes over Lori Lalouette-Crawford with 668. That race contains 17 provisional ballots that are challengeable with incorrect addresses or because the voter did not have proper identification at the polls.
County commissioners, acting as the board of canvassers, will make the final determination of those ballots, as well as five ballots that could not be read by ballot machines.
The long wait many voters experienced Tuesday tempered Spencer’s enthusiasm for the large turnout.
“Everything went smoothly, it’s just the time it took to get to the table,” Spencer said, adding that voters had to wait too long to cast their ballots because of high turnout and consolidated polling places in Marion and Hillsboro.
“The combined polling places didn’t work,” Spencer said. “We’ve had quite a bit lower turnout previously. This election is a lot higher.”
Hillsboro and Marion previously had two polling places each. For several elections, they have operated only one polling place and Tuesday the lines were longer than ever before.
At the Marion Community Center, the line to vote snaked out the doors in the late morning. In Hillsboro, the line stretched to the civic center’s front door in the morning and later in the day filled the lobby. Residents said they had waited nearly an hour to vote.
Spencer said several towns needed more ballots delivered, including Tampa, Lincolnville, Goessel, Hillsboro, and Marion. In Goessel, a voter had to wait 15 minutes because ballots actually ran out.
Spencer said everyone still in line at 7 p.m., when the polling places closed, voted.
“For the larger elections, I will expand in Hillsboro and Marion (in the future),” Spencer said, adding that each city will have two polling places or one with two election boards to improve efficiency.
Before 9 a.m. in Marion, there was only a short line or none at all. After voting, Dan Madgwick said he supported Pat Roberts for U.S. Senate over Greg Orman.
“I think he’s been good for the state of Kansas,” Madgwick said. “He didn’t make it easy with some of the negative ad campaigns he ran, but I decided to retain him just because of some of the businesses he has brought to Kansas.”
Madgwick said he supported the Libertarian candidate for governor, Keen Umbehr.
“I’m not too thrilled with either the Republican or Democrat in that race,” Madgwick said.
In Hillsboro, Bob Rahn voted for Orman and Paul Davis. Asked why, Rahn said he did not like the way Brownback has been handling his duties.
“I think he ought to be locked up in jail,” Rahn said.
Rahn said he voted for Orman because Roberts has contributed to the gridlock in Washington.
“There’s too much blockage in the Senate,” Rahn said.
Jonathan Maxfield supported Craig Dodd for District 1 Marion County Commissioner over Lori Lalouette-Crawford and Donna Klose. Maxfield voted for Brownback and Roberts.
“It’s important to retain a Republican Senate,” Maxfield said.
Last modified Nov. 6, 2014