Barton County voters braved wet, chilly weather to hit the polls Tuesday, decide a host of city council, school board, and other openings across the county, as well as deciding on a group of sales tax questions in the cities of Great Bend and Ellinwood.
Overall voter turnout across the county was 3,446, which represents or 21.44% of the 16,076 registered voters in the county.
All vote totals remain unofficial and don’t include provisional ballots – those cast by voters who moved within the county or changed names. Vote counts will be certified when they are canvassed Monday morning by the Barton County Commission, acting as the Board of Canvassers.
Tax questions and Great Bend contested races
Voters in Great Bend were asked to decide the fate of three proposed sales tax increase questions.
All three questions passed in resounding fashion, with question 1 (quality of life improvements) passing 1,067 to 884, question 2 (police station improvements) passing 1,382 to 573 and question 3 (police and fire department operations) passing 1,356 to 604.
Ellinwood voters were also asked to decide on a .5% sales tax increase to help the city address various infrastructure improvement projects. Voters in the city passed the question 237 to 77.
In addition to the sales tax questions, contested races in the city included an open Ward 2 City Council seat, where Jolene Biggs (553 votes) defeated Chelsea Morris (272 votes). Four candidates also vied for three open seats on the USD 428 Board of Education. Deanna Esmiller (1,612), Jacqueline Disque (1,326), and Chad Burroughs (1,142) captured the seats. Donald L. Williams, an incumbent, received 1,114 votes.
Other contested races in Barton County
In Claflin, five candidates competed for three open city council seats. Winning the seats were Robert Gunder (89 votes), Dustin Daniels (84 votes) and Dorian Hickel (65 votes). J.D. Linville received 53 votes, and Doug Hubbard received 49 votes.
Three candidates were up for two open seats on the Cottonwood Extension District 17 Board - Lori Waters (1,925), Alexa (Lexi) Straub (1,841) and Rita Stolz (1,317).
Unified School District 431: Board Member, (elect 3) – Traci Schneider (365), Sara Tarlton (267), Matthew Keith Beaver (239), Shawn Ludwig (238) and Kevin Patterson (71).
Unified School District 355 Board Member, (elect 3) – Stephen L. Billinger (283), Craig Merritt (252), Whitney Asher (238), and Jim Corbett (198).
Barton Community College Trustee: (elect 3) – Carl Helm (1,873), John E. Moshier (1.596), Don Learned (1,563), Tricia Reiser (1,521) Sonya Rein (1,442)
Several races across the county were either uncontested or had no filings for the open seats. Those races are listed below:
• Mayor – Cody Schmidt (1,798)
• Council member 1st Ward – Alan Moeder (321)
• Council member 3rd Ward – Cory Urban (521)
• Council member 4th Ward – no filings (Natalie K. Towns, 8 write in votes; Randy Myers 5 write in, Larry Parsons, 2 write in; Larry Partridge 2 write in; Tim Nollette, 2 write in)
• Mayor – no filings (Christopher Kinman, 46 write-in; James E. Sekavec, 33 write-in; Gary Micah Ehler, 7 write in; Robert William Bruce, 1 write in)
• Council member 1st Ward – Becky Steiner (84)
• Council member 2nd Ward – Darren Reinert (116)
• Council member 3rd Ward – James Morris (76)
• Council member 4th Ward – Christina Smith (77)
• Mayor – Irlan Fullbright (247)
• Council member (elect 2) – Steve Oelke (276) and Jon L. Prescott (255)
• Mayor – no filings (Rodney Cushenberry, 10 write in votes)
• Council member – no filings (Charles Keller, 8 write in; Robert Ritterhouse, 8 write in; Stan Ewy, 7 write in; Katie Hasselhorst, 6 write in; Martheda Hanhardt. 5 write in)
• Mayor – no filings
• Council member – no filings
• Council member (elect 3) – Joshua Tessendorf (6) and Curtis Bunting (5) Lynn Stos, John Suchy and Matt Suchy (1 write in each)
• Council member (elect 3) – Joyce Link (15), W. Paul Umble (13) and Caitlin Cross (10)
• Mayor – no filings (Dennis Trapp, 4 write in votes)
• Council member, elect 5 – no filings (Bill Luerman, Richard Wilson, Jackie DeBusk and Jim Price, 5 write in each; Jeff Cotten, 4 write in)
Ellinwood Hospital District
• Trustee – David Gonzales (326)