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Low turnout, few surprises on Election Day

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VOTE:Helen Yentes, left, receives assistance at the polls Tuesday at the North Manchester Public Library.
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By Rob Burgess - rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com

With few contested races and low voter turnout, there weren’t many surprises to be had in Wabash County during the municipal election Tuesday, Nov. 5.

The final vote tallies were issued just before 7:30 p.m. and showed that out of 10,482 registered voters, 1,247 votes were cast, leaving voter turnout at 11.9 percent.

Of the votes cast, 956 were cast on Election Day, 13 were paper absentee ballots and 278 were walk-in absentee.

There were 44 Democratic and 270 Republican straight-party voters.

In Wabash and North Manchester, there were only three contested races.

For the Wabash City Council (At Large) race, Republicans John S. Burnsworth and Bryan Dillon were victorious over Democrat Dan Townsend. Burnsworth received 496 votes (42.83 percent), Dillon received 401 votes (34.63 percent) and Townsend received 261 votes (22.54 percent).

For the North Manchester Town Council District 1 (At Large) races, Republican Laura Rager received 312 votes (64.46 percent) to Independent Kevin Shambarger’s 172 votes (35.54 percent).

For the North Manchester Town Council District 3 race (Chester 4), Republican Tom Dale received 330 votes (68.75 percent) to independent Michael J. Larson’s 150 votes (31.25 percent).

Uncontested races

Below are vote totals for each of the uncontested races in Tuesday’s election:

Wabash Mayor

Scott A. Long (R) - 600

Wabash City Clerk-Treasurer

Wendy Frazier (D) - 400

Wabash City Judge

Timothy A. Roberts (R) - 574

Wabash City Common Council District 1

Mitch Figert (R) - 107

Wabash City Common Council District 2

David W. Monroe (R) - 61

Wabash City Common Council District 3

Terry Brewer Jr. (R) - 104

Wabash City Common Council District 4

Susan Bonfitto (R) - 116

Wabash City Common Council District 5

Doug Adams (R) - 164

North Manchester Town Clerk-Treasurer

Carrie Mugford (R) - 409

North Manchester Town Council Member, District 2 (Chester 6)

James W. (Jim) Smith (R) - 411

North Manchester Town Council Member, District 4 (Chester 4)

Allen Miracle (D) - 297

North Manchester Town Council Member, District 5 (Chester 5)

Chalmer “Toby” Tobias III (R) – 422

The following was the view of Election Day from each of the five vote centers in Wabash County:

Zion Lutheran Church

Just after noon, Linda Whinery, inspector at the Zion Lutheran Church vote center, said the turnout was fairly light.

“We have a lull in between, but then you have three or four,” she said. “It’s not too bad compared to what we were expected. Everything’s been going great.”

Linda Gabel was one of the voters who had just finished casting her ballot.

“I always vote, every election,” she said. “It didn’t take any time any time at all.”

Gabel said she would “rather not say” who she voted for, but that the choice was easy.

“There wasn’t much contest except for the one,” she said.

First United Methodist Church

Cheryl Maggart, inspector at the First United Methodist Church vote center, said there had been 148 voters at that location as of 1:30 p.m.

“It’s been steady, but slow,” she said. “It’s a very low turnout.”

Maggart said the touch screen voting machines had performed well.

“We don’t have anything new this year,” she said.

Maggart, who was serving at that location for the third time, said next year’s general election would be much busier.

“We will have several more voting machines as well as more clerks and judges,” she said.

Bonnie Lane was one of the voters who had just finished casting a ballot at that location.

“I just feel like I needed to do my part,” she said.

Lane said she “already knew when I came in” who she would vote for, as she always votes with the same party.

“I voted Republican,” she said.

Welbrooke of Wabash

Robert Cole, inspector at the Welbrooke of Wabash vote center, said 188 voters had cast ballots there as of 3:45 p.m. Cole, who is in his first year at this location, said turnout was expected to be low.

“Real good, very few problems,” he said. “Been a low turnout, but running smooth.”

After casting her ballot, Sharon Grossman said she knew who she would vote for before stepping in the booth.

“Ever since I turned 18, I vote every time there’s an election,” she said.

Timbercrest Retirement Community

Ted Straiger, inspector at the Timbercrest Retirement Community vote center, said there had only been 37 voters there as of 4:18 p.m.

“The first hour, we had one. The second hour, we had two. The third hour, we got up to six,” he said. “We understand why, but it’s been very, very slow. Everything’s going well. I’m very happy with that. Good workers, good food here.”

Straiger said he was looking forward to working with the same people next year during the primary and general elections.

“We have a great team,” he said. “We’ll have people coming out of the woodwork that have not voted for a while. We will be wishing for one an hour. It’s a nice idea so the residents of Timbercrest do not have to get out, can come down here, vote, socialize a little bit. It’s a nice opportunity for them.”

North Manchester Public Library

Flo Dahlstrom, inspector for the North Manchester Public Library vote center, said there had been 284 voters there as of 4:30 p.m.

“It’s been steady. It hasn’t been huge crowds,” she said. “It’s low for turnout, but compared to what Timbercrest is getting.”

Before heading in to vote, Helen Yentes said she usually votes in every election.

“It was my duty to do it, is the way I look at it,” she said.

And did she know who she would vote for?

“I’m not sure, but I think maybe Republican,” she said.