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Local Election Results

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register

The Ballinger City Council elections saw one new member elected. Steve Gray, owner of Ballinger Printing, won election to Single Member District 4 over the incumbent councilman and local businessman, Mike Riley. Mike Riley was appointed to serve on the council when Kristi Goetz resigned earlier this year. Gray won the election 170 (52.63%) to 153 (47.37%).

Runnels County Elections Office

The other seats up for election were Single Member District 1 and Single Member District 3. Normally, only two council seats would be up for election. The resignation of Goetz, former councilman Bob McDaniel and former councilman Jason Gore meant that someone was appointed to fill those seats. KRUN radio general manager Jeff Smith was appointed to file Gore's seat, SMD-1. Smith was in place for a couple of months before he, too, resigned. After Smith's resignation, Ken Manley was appointed to the position. Ryan Lange was appointed to McDaniel's seat, SMD-3.

In their respective races, Lange defeated local businessman Chad Hardy 104 (62.28%)  to 63 (37.72%), while Ken Manley defeated two challengers, Barrett Smith and Rachelle Williams. Manley received 142 votes (50.35%), while Smith received 95 votes (33.69%) and Williams received 45 votes (15.96%), respectively.  According to the Texas Election Code (TEC), a majority vote is required to win a race. The TEC defines a majority vote as, "In majority systems, a candidate must win at least 50 percent of the vote in order to win the election. In the event that no candidate wins an outright majority, a runoff election is held between the top two vote-getters."

According to the voting results, there were a total of 91 undervotes, meaning that people who voted, and could have voted in the above elections, didn't cast a vote. A voter who may have voted in the Presidential election may have abstained from voting in their respective city, county or state election. According to the Elections Office results, that are still unofficial until confirmed, there were 38 undervotes in Manley/Williams/Smith, 17 undervotes in Hardy/Lange and 36 undervotes in Gray/Riley.

The Ballinger Independent School District board had District 6 on the ballot. District 6 is a Single Member. Michelle Aguilera defeated Dale Halfmann, 126 (52.28%) to 115 (47.72%). There were 22 undervotes. This election also had 1 overvote, which is defined as, "An overvote occurs when an elector casts more votes in a contest than is allowed. This results in a spoiled vote, a ballot which is not counted in the final tally. For example, a voter who votes for two candidates in a contest that permits only one vote has overvoted, and his or her ballot cannot be counted for the race in which the voter overvoted." In the case of the overvote, the ballot wasn't counted in favor of either candidate in that election.  There was also an overvote in the SMD-1 (Manley/Williams/Smith) race.

Winters had one position on the city council up for election; Council Member Place 5. Elmer Buckelew challenged incumbent Mark Burkhart. In the end, Burkhart won the race, 264 (53.12%) - 233 (46.88%). There were 84 undervotes. The election has had some controversy, which is detailed in another article in this issue of the newspaper.

An Alderman position in Miles was on the ballot. None of the candidates received a majority vote. Casey McCartney, Kirk Boatright, Tony Dillon and Jane Jeschke ended a close race. The final tally was: McCartney - 199; Boatright - 197; Dillon - 142; Jeschke - 168. The percentage for each candidate is as follows: McCartney 28.19%; Boatright - 27.90%; Dillon - 20.11%; Jeschke - 23.80%. According to the TEC, since no one received a majority vote, there should be a runoff between McCartney (199) and Boatright (197).

Judge Ben Woodward (District Judge 119th District), John Best (District Attorney - 119th District), Ben Clayton (Runnels County Attorney), Carl Squyres (Runnels County Sheriff), Robin Burgess (Runnels County Tax Assessor), Carl King (Runnels County Pct. 1 Commissioner), Brandon Poehls (Runnels County Pct. 3 Commissioner), Wayne Poehls (Constable Pct. 1) and Archie Jobs (Constable Pct. 2) all ran unopposed.

Up the road, votes in Jim Ned approved a school bon for $26 million for school constructioin. The voters also voted in favor of a second bond request, 7.8 million, to build a performing arts center for the district. According to an article in the Abilene Reporter News, Jim Ned ISD superintendent Glen Teal said that the bonds would increase property taxes, for properties valued at over $172,000, to $30 per month, approximately $360 per year. This could change as the report said that the final impact for taxpayers had yet to be calculated.

In Coleman, the most contentious proposition of the 11 propositions on their ballot concerned the office of the Chief of Police. In the past, the chief has been an elected position. The proposition, which passed, will have the Chief of Police appointed by the city manager with confirmation by the city council. In the end, 921 people voted FOR the proposition, while 732 voted AGAINST it.