Turnout light Tuesday morning in county coroner runoff

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Voting at Warren County’s 22 precincts Tuesday morning was steady but slow in the runoff election for the county coroner’s position.

In the special election two weeks ago, five candidates split the vote enough to send the top two vote-getters, Ronald C. Regan and John A. Thomason, to a runoff today. Regan, interim coroner since August, took the most votes, 6,172, on Nov. 7. Thomason followed with 5,598.

Polls in the county opened at 7 and will remain open until 7 Tuesday night for the runoff that is the only contest on local ballots.

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At the Culkin precinct, the largest in the county, nearly 100 voters had endured the frosty temperatures in the vacant school building to cast their ballots during the first hour this morning.

“We’ve had more than I had expected,” said Culkin Precinct Manager Marjorie Ameen. “About three people were standing outside at 7.”

Due to a lack of heat in the building, about 25 ballots would not scan through voting machines this morning, while others were being warmed by a space heater before going into the device, Ameen said.

Overnight temperatures dropped to 30 degrees, but were on the rise this morning. Poll workers planned to scan the chilly ballots later, after the building warmed up, Ameen said.

At other area precincts, 22 ballots were cast at the Moose Lodge and 16 at Beechwood by 8 a.m.

Beechwood Precinct Manager Jean Sturgis said she hoped numbers would pick up later in the day.

“People need to get out and vote,” Sturgis said. “This is serious.”

About 18,371 ballots were cast Nov. 7 in voting that included presidential and congressional races. The number of eligible voters has grown in the county from 30,289 a year ago to 31,370 today.

In anticipation of a low turnout in the runoff, 12,000 ballots were ordered for today’s runoff.

“We had a lot of young people out last time,” Sturgis said. “Maybe they’ll be out later.”

Both candidates vying for the post are funeral home managers seeking their first elected office.

Regan, 47, has served as the county deputy coroner since 1993. He is the manager of Jefferson Funeral Home.

Thomason, 42, is manager of Fisher-Riles Funeral Home.