Hanken sworn in on Monticello Council

Newly elected Council member Brenda Hanken is sworn into office Monday, Nov. 19 just prior to the start of the council meeting. Hanken remained at the meeting through the pitbuill ESA agenda before leaving the meeting at around 7:40 p.m. No comments were given for her early departure. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Newly elected Monticello Council member Brenda Hanken was sworn into office on Monday, Nov. 19, just prior to the start of the council meeting.

     Hanken is serving in one of two at-large council seats. The citizens of Monticello were asked to vote to fill the seat due to a prior vacancy. Gary “Butch” Pratt was appointed by the council earlier this year for the position after Brian Wolken (who served on the council) was elected mayor.

     Hanken won the seat with 565 votes. Zeb Bowser secured 409 votes, and Pratt with 359.

     The voters of Monticello also passed the Hotel/Motel Tax increase, from 5 to 7 percent. The “yes” votes were 831 against 665 for the “no” votes.

     During the Nov. 14 Jones County Supervisor meeting, the board canvassed the countywide votes, and acknowledged the results of a post-election audit conducted on the votes cast at the Fairview precinct on Nov. 6.

     County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Janine Sulzner provided a presentation to the board and public regarding this year’s mid-term election.

     Thirty-seven percent of the total ballots cast was absentees. Thirty ballots overall were rejected for various reasons. Sulzner said some did not provide proof of residency after casting a provisional ballot. One absentee ballot was challenged and denied. Two absentees were also rejected because they were post-marked after the deadline. Another absentee ballot was rejected because the voter passed away before Election Day. Another 18 absentee ballots were rejected due to missing voter signatures and no follow-through.

     Sulzner said the day before the election, Monday, Nov. 5, they had 200 people vote in-person in the courthouse.

     Prior to the election, Sulzner said every piece of election equipment is tested, which equals 112 hours of manpower.

     “It’s a tedious process, but it has to be done,” she said.

     It took 30 man-hours to deliver election equipment to the 12 precincts throughout the county.

     The process of opening each absentee ballot and counting and processing those ballots amounted to 170 man-hours.

     “We hired temporary staff who worked 450 hours,” reported Sulzner.

     Jones County had a 63 percent voter turnout on Election Day, which makes this the county’s highest mid-term election. Of the thousands of absentee ballots mailed out, only 58 were not returned.

     Jones County has a 91-percent voter registration rate.

     “That’s pretty good,” said Sulzner.


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