The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 7, 2013

Voters head to polls this week

BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Non-mayoral city elections have traditionally seen around a 15 percent voter turnout.

Danville Election Commission Director Barbara Dreher is expecting about the same, 12-17 percent voter turnout, for Tuesday’s election.

The consolidated election is for city council, school board, township and other offices. There also is the electrical aggregation referendum on city ballots.

“Absentee voting is a littler heavier this time,” Dreher said.

She thinks that’s because of the more talked about school board race that seems to be heating up.

If the voter turnout is closer to 17 percent, that still is only about 3,065 people voting out of 18,033 registered voters. About 400 ballots have already been cast by absentee and early voters.

Nine candidates are vying for four seats on the Danville District 118 school board.

The candidates seeking election to the school board are incumbents Dr. Randal Ashton, Dan Brown, Greg Hilleary and Frank Young and newcomers Johnnie Carey, Darlene Halloran, Lon Henderson, Phyllis Roth and David Woodrow.

The four-year terms that are expiring are for Ashton, Brown, Hilleary and Young.

One incumbent and two newcomers are vying for two open seats on the Danville Area Community College Board of Trustees.

Incumbent Dr. Ron Serfoss and newcomers Harry Brockus of Hoopeston and Greg Wolfe of Oakwood are seeking election to two seats that are currently held by Serfoss and retired judge John O’Rourke.

Both seats are full terms of six years each.

For seats on the Danville City Council, four wards are contested while three aren’t.

Seeking Ward 2 Alderwoman Lois Cooper’s seat are newcomers Darrell Heath and Frank Hoskins. Cooper isn’t seeking re-election.

In Ward 3, current alderman Bill Gilbert is facing challenger Roosevelt J. Davis.

In Ward 5, current alderman Mike Puhr is being challenged by newcomer Janis L. Ostiguy.

Finally in Ward 7, alderman Steve Foster is being challenged by Al Reynolds.

The elections are non-partisan. The positions, one in each ward of the 14-member city council consisting of two aldermen from each ward, are four-year terms.

The electrical aggregation referendum question reads “Shall the City of Danville have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?”

A November referendum for the county was determined to make the program available only to unincorporated areas, not the city. It passed by a 2-to-1 margin in the city. The city would have the same “opt-out” program as the county.

If the referendum is approved, Danville’s electrical rate will be bid out with a group of other communities all represented by consultant Good Energy to secure a lower rate for electric service.

Dreher said election judges and equipment are ready for Tuesday. Polling places are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Some changes in polling places have occurred.

Due to South Side Church of Christ accidentally scheduling an event that it couldn’t reschedule, the polling place for Precinct 30 was moved from the church to Danville Township offices that already has Precinct 28.

Dreher said letters were sent to voters in Precinct 30 about the change for this election only.

Polling places also were moved out of schools.

Dreher said they were informed last year that they couldn’t use Meade Park Elementary School as a polling place anymore. The change couldn’t occur with last fall’s election due to the notice coming within 60 days of the election.

Precinct 11 is now being moved from the school to the Bremer Conference Center at Danville Area Community College where Precinct 22 already votes.

Precinct 12 also was moved to the Bremer Conference Center from the Boys and Girls Club; and Precinct 10 was moved from East Park Elementary School to the Boys and Girls Club where Precinct 13 already votes.

Dreher said school officials at Meade Park were “feeling uneasy with people wandering the school,” with the doors open. Meade Park also has open concept rooms and the polling place was causing disruptions, Dreher said.

Dreher said they also decided to move the East Park polling site to avoid any further problems.

As part of this election, Dreher said eight precincts at Harrison Park Clubhouse and First Church of the Nazarene will have electronic polling books. There will be no change for voters, but there will be less paperwork involved for election judges looking up names of voters.

They will be able to look up a voter’s name on a laptop from the election commission’s registration database. For example, if an inactive voter comes in, the election judge can print out a label with the person’s information on it.

“It’s a test run. The judges are excited about it,” Dreher said.

Election results will be posted as they come in on the election commission’s website and updated every so often Tuesday night.

There won’t be election result postings at the David S. Palmer Arena as has happened in years past.

“The last few times there hasn’t been a crowd to speak of,” Dreher said.

She’s not expecting a late night Tuesday. Final results could be in around 9 p.m., without any glitches.

Most of the communities in Vermilion County also will have elections for municipal and school boards.

Staff Writer Carol Roehm contributed to the story.

FYI

For city election results, visit the Danville Election Commission’s website at http://www.co.vermilion.il.us/electresults.htm.