The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

September 10, 2013

Ottumwans choose school board

OTTUMWA — One incumbent and two newcomers will serve on the Ottumwa Community School District Board of Education.

Ottumwa school board president Carol Mitchell has retained her place on the board. Michael Burton is a new board member, as is David Weilbrenner.

The big winner during Tuesday night was Weilbrenner, who pulled ahead early and maintained an obvious lead over the other five candidates. With 1,255 votes, he won both in election day and absentee ballots. With six choices, voters chose him 27 percent of the time.

Next was Burton, who had the second highest number of votes, with 914. Staying with a theme, he had the second highest number of absentee votes, and the second highest number of election day votes. That gave him 20 percent of the vote.

Mitchell, with 719 votes total, took the third open spot. Again, her position in the polls matched her absentee ranking and her election day votes, both third among six.

The number of candidates may have contributed to higher voter turnout than usual for a school board election in Wapello County. County Auditor Kelly Spurgeon said there are about 23,500 registered voters in the county. With about 2,000 of them voting, that puts the percentage over 8 percent. More typical is 5 percent, she said.

Another change: Rather than run the polls from early morning until 8 p.m., polls opened at noon.

"The school district gets to vote on whether they want polls open all day or from 12 p.m. until 8," she said. "Our [office] has the final say, but they did vote [for the half day], probably in an effort to save money."

Other results were for Wapello County. The board of trustees at Indian Hills Community College kept two incumbents, Tom Keck and Rich Gaumer.

In the Cardinal school board election, Todd Hart and Mike Kayser were both voted in. And in Eddyville-Blakesburg-Freemont, winners included: Mike Mayberry, Dan Hulbert, Bruce Severson and David Friedman.

To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark

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