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Harper Resigns from Election Board to Run for County Council

January 12, 2012

01/13/1 After serving on the Marshall County Election Board since the early 1990’s, Steve Harper is stepping down. Harper announced his resignation at the Election Board meeting on Thursday morning. Harper filed for a seat on the County Council on Wednesday and indicated that he felt his position on the Board could be viewed as a conflict. Harper said, “I think it’s clear that I shouldn’t be on the Election Board.”

Harper said he had spoken with Marshall County Republican Chair, David Holmes, concerning the matter prior to submitting a resignation. According to Harper, the resignation became effective at the end of the Election Board meeting on January 12.

Holmes also attended the meeting and said he has asked Nelson Chipman to fill the vacancy.

Chipman also attended and accepted the appointment. Chipman’s first official duties will be at the next scheduled board meeting on January 24. Homes said, “Nelson (Chipman) brings a lot to the table with his knowledge of national elections.”

The Election Board will have to name a new chair to succeed Harper.

Shelly Brown of voter registration informed the board that she sent 5,178 cards to registered voters who will be affected by the changes made in redistricting and precinct lines. She said additional cards will be sent out in March with polling site information. The board has been working for several weeks on combining some polling sites in order to save money. Much of the discussion included the declining number of poll workers available. By combining the sites, the board could realize a savings of over $9,000 in payments to poll workers. Julie Fox, Marshall County Clerk and Election Board member said, “I have received a lot of calls from people who have gotten cards.”

Board members did approach the County Commissioners with a proposed plan of potential polling sites last week. The Commissioners are responsible for approving the sites.

Brown said that according to election rulings, a precinct may start at only 1,200 registered voters, but can increase to 1,500. The 1,500 figure is the maximum number approved by the state.

Board members are still struggling with declaring a polling site for North Township. The Community Building in LaPaz offers ample room to set up the site, but the board has concerns over parking space and  areas of mud/ snow that may be caused by winter weather conditions.

As of January 1, State Senator Ryan Mishler (District 9)assumed representation for all of Plymouth due to redistricting within the state. Nancy Dembowski (District 17) remains as the State Representative until the end of December, 2012.

Carol Anders Correspondent