News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 17, 2007

Voters re-elect Paris Mayor Craig Smith

By Crystal Garcia

Illinois — Craig Smith was re-elected to a four-year term as mayor of Paris, Ill., on Tuesday after earning 1,412 votes to opponent Margaret Thomas’ 489.

Also in Edgar County, Harry W. Hughes, incumbent Jerry D. Branson, Frank A. Givens and Roger Faulk won four-year term commissioner seats.

Tuesday was Election Day in communities across Illinois.

In Robinson, incumbent Joe Hayden retained his spot as alderman for Ward 3 with 96 votes to his opponent Wayne E. Wolf’s 62. For the Ward 4 seat, incumbent Sheryl Bunten lost to Gregory L. Bachelor, 198-156. In Marshall, incumbent Tony Snyder retained his Ward 3 seat, winning 108-58 over Tony M. Malone.

Though voter turnout was small in Clark County, Helen Crumrin of Marshall made it to the polls to help her next-door neighbor.

“I wanted to help Tony Snyder,” said Crumrin, who votes at every election. “I believe he deserves it because he’s worked real hard to help the community.”

Don Abel of Marshall said these elections are just as important as national elections because voters select their local representatives.

“You have an opportunity to vote for individuals you personally know,” Abel said.

Rose Guinnip wasn’t surprised at the low turnout Tuesday at the polls in Marshall.

“It’s consolidated [elections] and it’s not political and it makes a big difference,” said Guinnip, who has been working at the polls for 50 years. “… It’s more of a community issue.”

Consolidated elections are local elections for positions such as aldermen, library trustees, and school and park board members, in which the candidates are nonpartisan.

She said in the 50 years she’s worked there, all that has changed is how votes are counted. Voter turnout has stayed around the same.

They used to have to count each ballot by hand, but now a machine counts them.

While it’s faster to count the votes now, Guinnip said it still takes some time because the machines have to be set up and taken down.

There were no problems in the Catholic Church Annex, which houses all four of Marshall’s precincts, she said.

“Everything just seemed to go off fine,” Guinnip said. “The machines set up and it worked well.”

Abel didn’t have any problems casting his vote there. The 85-year-old Marshall resident has been voting since he was 18, either in person or by absentee, he said. “It’s a privilege that we have here in this country,” he said about voting.

Crystal Garcia can be reached at (812) 231-4271 or crystal.garcia@tribstar.com.