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Write-Ins Upset Incumbents

By Staff | Sep 10, 2015

While voter turnout was low in three of the four districts in Palo Alto County, over 600 voters turned out in the Emmetsburg Community School District for what appeared to be a non-contested election Tuesday.

According to Palo Alto County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Carmen Moser, poll workers in Emmetsburg had to photocopy blank ballots to supply enough ballots for voters during polling hours.

“We are allowed by the Iowa Code to make copies, and those ballots that were photocopied were hand-counted first when the polls closed,”?Moser explained. “A total of 999 write-in ballots were cast in Emmetsburg, and even with that number, we had the count finished by 10:30 p.m.”

Emmetsburg Results

The Emmetsburg School Board will see three new faces following Tuesday’s school board elections, as incumbent board members Rick Brennan, Kathleen Roethler and BJ?Schany all were defeated through a write-in campaign. Incumbent Scott Kibbie retained his seat on the board, and will be joined by Dan Chism, Pete Hamilton and Ed Meyer.

In Tuesday’s voting, Incumbent board member Scott Kibbie received 430 votes, while write-in candidate Dan Chism received 354 votes. Fellow write-in candidates Pete Hamilton received 328 votes and Ed Meyer received 299 votes. Incumbent board members Kathleen Roethler received 276 votes, with Rick Brennan receiving 213 votes and BJ?Schany receiving 209 votes.

Out of 3,361 eligible voters living in the Emmetsburg Community School District, a total of 602 patrons cast ballots, for a 17.9 percent voter turnout.

Ruthven-Ayrshire Votes

The contest election in the Ruthven-Ayrshire Community School District saw two candidates file for three vacancies on the board. Incumbent board member Tracy Enderson was re-elected with 44 votes, while the other announced candidate, Heather Ruehle, received 37 votes. A total of 81 write-in votes were cast during the vote. After a count of the write-in votes, Larry Conlon, who chose not to run for re-election, received 27 write-in votes to win the third seat on the Ruthven-Ayrshire board. Stephanie Fay would receive 10 write-in votes during Tuesday’s balloting.

The Ruthven-Ayrshire School District saw 162 district patrons, or 4.8 percent of the 1,084 eligible voters casting ballots.

Graettinger-Terril Votes

All three announced candidates for the Graettinger-Terril School Board earned election on Tuesday. Incumbent board members Kevin Jensen was re-elected with 66 votes and Galen Chicoine received 60 votes, while candidate Jeremiah DePyper earned 45 votes. A total of 30 write-in ballots were cast in the election, with Tonya Feldhacker receiving 24 of the write-in votes.

A total of 72 patrons out of the 1,626 eligible patrons in the Graettinger-Terril School District, or 4.43 percent, turned out to cast ballots on Tuesday.

West Bend-Mallard Results

All three incumbents in the West Bend-Mallard Community School District won re-election on Tuesday. Dawn Schmidt received 82 votes, with John Zaugg receiving 76 votes and Jillian Hansen receiving 74 votes. The fourth seat on the West Bend-Mallard School board will be filled by Nichole Myer, who received 81 votes. Just two write-in votes were cast in the West Bend-Mallard School District, but out of the 1,404 eligible voters in the district, 84 votes were cast on Tuesday for 6..05 percent voter turnout.

All vote totals are unofficial until the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors conducts a canvas of the vote on Friday, Sept. 11, at 1 p.m. in the Board Room of the Palo Alto County Courthouse.