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Voters Have Plenty of Choices in Carthage Election
August 8, 2007 - Carthage voters - at least those who don't vote a straight ticket along party lines - will get an electoral workout when they go to the polls this fall.
As of the August 1 deadline, a total of 11 candidates had registered to run for the council's five seats. Of the 11, there are 10 Republicans and one Democrat.
Rush County Clerk Linda Sheehan confirmed Monday that all six of the council's current members - President Rick Bush, Vice President Wanda Henderson, Jane Kirchner, Tim Wehr, Rob Cooper and Bill Armstrong - are seeking reelction. The five newcomers seeking a seat on the council are Carthage Town Marshal Mike Onkst, former council member Joe Whitfield, Kathleen Heim Renz, Harry Bostrom and Doris Wyatt.
Although the Carthage Town Council presently has six members, Carthage voters approved a measure in 2003 to reduce that number to five beginning with this election. When The Banner checked with the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns in 2003, an IACT representative was unable to identify any towns or cities in Indiana, other than Carthage, whose governing bodies consisted of an even-number of members. The lone Democrat running for Carthage Town Council is incumbent Wehr. According to Sheehan, Bush, who ran as a Democrat in 2003 but filed as Republican this time, had indicated he wanted to go back to being a Democrat. However, she said he did not follow through with the steps necessary to make the switch.
For Republican voters, the most important votes they cast will likely be within the next two weeks. Because there are more than five Republicans seeking seats on what will soon be a five-member town council, the town's Republican Committee will have to hold a town convention to select which five of these candidates will appear on the fall ballot.
State law requires that the town convention to select the five Republicans who will represent the party on the fall ballot be held no later than Monday, August 20. All registered Carthage voters affiliated with the Republican Party are allowed to vote during the convention.
Due to the number of candidates vying for a council seat, it's possible that Carthage voters could oust all five incumbents and elect an entirely new council. By reelecting Bush, a deputy with the Carthage Police Department, and electing Town Marshal Onkst, voters could also give the town its first council featuring two active members of the police department.
In addition to the town council election, voters will also get to vote on who will be Carthage's chief financial officer for the next four years. Incumbent Clerk-Treasurer Linda McMahan, a Republican appointed by the party following the resignation of Janet Warren in January 2005, will face a challenge from Democrat Abbie Wehr, wife of council member Tim Wehr.
The fall election will be held Tuesday, November 6. Persons wanting to register to vote in this election have until Tuesday, October 9, to do so. Eligible voters must be U.S. citizens at least 18 years old by November 6 who have lived in their voting district no less than 30 days before the election. Anyone currently in prison for conviction of a crime may not vote.
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