Russell secures judge seatRepublicans win races despite low turnout

By on November 9, 2011

By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Correspondent mreiff.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

After the doors to the polls had been closed and the numbers were tallied, two things remained certain in the Ephrata area on Tuesday night: voter turnout was low despite sunny skies, and Republicans remained strong.

The biggest contested race resulted in Republican Tony Russell securing the win for the position of magisterial district judge, obtaining 2,312 votes. His opponent, Nelson Ramos, Democrat, had 738. In another local battle, A. Anthony Kilkuskie, Republican incumbent for Ephrata Borough Council Third Ward, won with 246 votes, surpassing Democratic candidate Tim Barr’s 114.

Russell stated that he feels people voted for him because they trust him to make honest decisions.

Even though pleasant weather did not draw a large voter turnout those who did come out were warmly receiving of the candidates and their supporters who stood outside prepared to greet them.

"It seems like a pretty low turnout, but the people I’ve talked to have been supportive," said Russell early in the day at Holy Trinity Church in Ephrata Borough, Third Ward. "I think there is such a majority of Republicans that if there is a 20 percent reduction in turnout it still gives me a real strong chance to win."

Ginny Vogel, election worker at the church, has been manning the polls for several years, first as a substitute and now in a permanent position. She said the morning rush that sometimes happens before residents go to work was missing this year.

"I think it’s gonna be slow," said Vogel. "Sometimes there’s been a line, but not this time."

A few of the voters at Holy Trinity shared their thoughts about the candidates they chose.

Hilda Boyer has been an Ephrata resident since 1951 but does not consider herself very political.

"I voted straight Republican," she said. I came to Ephrata in 1951. I voted for Kilkuskie because I’ve known him for years."

"I voted for Kilkuskie," said voter Barry Meashey. "I met Mr. Barr when he was coming around. He wanted to propose a couple things in the council that I didn’t care for."

Meashey also voted for Russell for judge.

"I knew he served the borough as a detective," said Meashey. "I’m comfortable with him."

At the Ephrata Public Library, Kathy Lindman, supporter of the Democratic party, stood outside handing out literature. She believes voter turnout may have been low because no one is running for governor, Senate or president. Some residents don’t know who is running locally and may be too busy with their families and work to vote.

"People that come out and vote — they know what they want. The people that follow politics; they know," she said. "I was going door to door for some candidates and people were saying ‘Geez, I hope I remember to vote.’ It’s not a priority."

Marsha Miley, supporter for Russell, was also greeting voters at the library.

"I know him for 20 years and I know the caliber of person that he is," said Miley. "He’s just one of the best guys that I know who would be able to do the job."

In Clay and Ephrata townships the consesus was the same about the turnout being low despite warm fall temperatures. Also, there weren’t a lot of questions for poll workers, according to Janice Breneman of Clay Township North.

"They know what they want to know (about the candidates)," she said of the citizens coming through Clay North’s polling place.

Bob Landis, a poll worker at Hope United Methodist Church in Ephrata Township, says that only 129 voters came through that voting place by 12:30 p.m.

Randy Oliver, another Ephrata Township poll worker at the church, said that they’ve been encouraging voters to use paper ballots because it leaves a paper trail.

John Weber, supervisor of Ephrata Township, predicted voting would pick up around 2:30 p.m. at the township building’s voting place.

"There’s no big issue (for Ephrata Township voters this time around). Ramos and Russell are the local (race) that has the most issues," states Weber of why there was such a low turnout.

As was the case in the borough, those who did come out each had their own reasons for making their candidate choices. Here are some:

"I voted for Tony Russell," said Judy Blanchard, who voted at Clay Township South. She appreciated Russell’s conservatism and states that a candidate’s beliefs decide who she votes for rather than a straight party ticket.

"It’s more important to vote for the person and what they stand for," Blanchard continues. "I take a conservative viewpoint."

Paul Miley of Ephrata Township voted for Russell, not only because Russell is a lifelong friend, but also because Russell has been active in the Ephrata community his entire life.

"He’s ready to be sworn in," Miley says. He seems to be ahead of his opponent in meeting his requirements for magisterial district justice."

There were several other uncontested races in the Ephrata area. Kay Kurtz was the leading vote getter for Ephrata Area School Board with 2,671 votes, followed by Judy Beiler (2,639) and newcomers Tim Stauffer (2,324), Chris Weber (2,281) and Ted Kachel (2,600). All are Republicans; Beiler, Kurtz and Ted Kachel were also on the Democratic ballot.

Other winners included: Akron Borough Council, John Taylor, H. Jeffrey Shick and David Landis; Ephrata Borough Council, First Ward, Dale Hertzog; Second Ward, Melvin Weiler; Third Ward, two-year seat, George Dillio; and Fourth Ward, Robert Good. All are Republicans except Dillio, who was on the Democratic ticket.

In Ephrata Township, Republican candidates secured several positions: supervisor, John Weber; auditor, six-year, Jay Snyder; and two-year, Paul Miley; and tax collector, Joseph Strosser. Republican Keith Martin was voted in for Clay Township supervisor.

In the Lancaster County commissioner race, Scott Martin and Dennis Stuckey, both on the Republican ticket, defeated Democrats Craig Lehman and Jonathan Paul Fox for the two seats.

(Wendy Komancheck contributed to this article.) Residents stepped inside the voting booth

yesterday, here’s a list of the results… Magisterial

District Judge

Republican

Tony Russell: 2,312

Ephrata Area

School Board

(five elected)

Republican

Tim Stauffer: 2,324

Chris Weber: 2,281

Republican/Democrat

Judy Beiler: 2,639

Kay Kurtz: 2,671

Ted Kachel: 2,600

Ephrata

Borough Council

(First Ward)

Republican

Dale Hertzog: 234

(Second Ward)

Republican

Melvin Weiler: 286

(Third Ward)

Republican

A. Anthony Kilkuskie: 246

(Third Ward-two-year)

Democrat

George Dillio: 232

(Fourth Ward)

Republican

Robert Good: 227

Akron Borough

Council

(three elected)

Republican

John Taylor: 360

H. Jeffrey Shick: 352

David Landis: 373

Ephrata Township

Supervisor

Republican

John Weber: 617

Ephrata

Township Auditor

(six-year)

Republican

Jay Snyder: 618

(two-year)

Republican

Paul Miley: 625

Ephrata Township

Tax Collector

Republican

Joseph Strosser: 600

Clay Township

Supervisor

Republican

Keith Martin: 526 RESULTS More ELECTION, page A17

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