County clerk estimates higher-than-average voter turnout, $144K utility project completed at jail

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Absentee ballots for the August primary election are already coming in, and Saline County Clerk Debbie Russell estimated 200 absentee ballots have been submitted so far.

During a Saline County Commission meeting Tuesday, July 26, Russell indicated her office has been diligent in assisting those who have signed up for assistance in the voting process.

"Our 'absentee team' went out this morning -- it's our final one for the nursing facilities -- to take care of votes ..." she said.

The last day for absentee voting will be at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, and the clerk's office will take absentee ballots from 8 a.m. to noon this Saturday, July 30.

"We have been having quite a few come in during that time, so it's definitely worth while," she said.

Southern District Commissioner asked what voting numbers looked like so far, and Russell said she predicts a higher voter turnout than usual.

"With our races that we have going on right now, it's a little higher prediction. I ordered 35 percent as far as -- that was a percentage that we gave to the state as an average of what we thought the turnout would be," she told commissioners. "I hope I'm surprised. I hope it's a lot more. We prepare for 100 percent. We always do."

Russell suggested citizens decide their votes prior to arriving at the polls in order to expedite the process. She stated there has been a lot of interest shown in the upcoming primary.

The clerk's office will conduct a public test of voting machines at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 28, in which a test deck of ballots will be run through a voting machine.

During the meeting, commissioners heard a report from Sheriff Cindi Mullins regarding air conditioner upgrades at the Saline County Jail. According to Mullins, the project, which was bid at $144,000, was finished last week.

"Everything is up and running and doing well," she told commissioners.

Presiding Commissioner Kile Guthrey asked if the company submitted its paperwork, and Mullins confirmed she would followup with them.

It was reported this past March that Marshall Municipal Utilities notified the facility of a water leak. The leak was found to be coming from the jail's geothermal heating and cooling system. Boessen Underground Construction Co., of Loose Creek, conducted the repairs. Guthrey estimated more than 60 wells were dug for the project.

During the meeting, commissioners also approved a liquor license for Bud's Café, in Marshall.

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