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Staff from the county auditor’s office receive ballots from precinct workers at the close of Tuesday’s primary elections. Both Ottumwa and Eldon saw very close finishes in the contest for the November general election.

OTTUMWA — Tuesday’s primary set the shape of next month’s city council elections, with four of the five candidates advancing to next month’s general election.

Wes Crowder, Bob Myers, Mark Peters, John Richards and Marc Roe filed for the election, which involves seats currently held by Roe and Victor Streeby. The number was one more than that needed to trigger a primary under Iowa law.

Meyers, a former council member, virtually secured his place in the general election with the absentee returns. His 54 votes were second among the absentees to John Richards’ 57. But where Meyers continued to build his numbers as precincts came in, finishing with 400 votes, Richards fell back into the pack.

Roe, the lone incumbent on the ballot, finished in second place with 323 votes. Peters slowly saw his totals grow to 314 for a comfortable third place finish. That set up a very close run between Richards and Crowder for the final spot on the November ballot.

Crowder came out just ahead with the preliminary numbers, his 281 votes a scant nine ahead of Richards’ 272.

But those numbers are preliminary. Figures only become official when they are canvassed by the county. It is common for figures to change between election night and the canvassing, but a swing of 10 net votes to change the outcome would be unusual.

While candidates can ask for recounts, Auditor Kelly Spurgeon said the results would not be automatically recounted.

This was the first election for the county since new modems were purchased to send totals back to the county auditor’s office from the polling places directly, a process officials hope will speed election night counts.

“We’re not [sending] them in tonight, though,” said Spurgeon. She said the equipment should be ready for use by next month’s general election, which is set for Nov. 5.

Even with the need to bring ballots physically back to the courthouse for the count, things moved swiftly. Ottumwa’s count was finished within an hour of the polls closing.

Ballots from Eldon took just a bit longer, and there appears to be a tie for the final spot on the ballot. Six candidates would advance to contest three seats. Stacy Cremer Doree, David Showman, Patti Durflinger, Sean Coulter and Tom Bedford were the top five. George Loerzel III and Pearlicia Cloke both emerged with 53 votes, tied for the final spot.

Matt Milner can be reached at mmilner@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @mwmilner

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Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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