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March 20, 2013

Champlain Village dissolution vote fails

Tally was 199-59, but some question legality of ballots

CHAMPLAIN — Dissolution is off the table for the Village of Champlain.

Voters turned out in high numbers to shoot down a proposition put forth through the permissive referendum process. 

With a total 241 villagers stepping into the voting booth at the Village Office on Tuesday and another 18 weighing in by absentee ballot, the tally was 199-59.

“The village people looked at the services, they looked at the taxes, they came to the public hearings, they looked at the whole thing,” said Mayor Greg Martin, who knocked on doors campaigning to keep the village intact as much as to retain his post.

“That’s one of the main reasons I ran again,” he said.

Voters gave him another term, with 214 votes; re-elected Trustee Kim Trombley, with 189; and newcomer Janet McFetridge joins the board with a tally of 191. 

She will fill the seat now held by Tom Gurzenda, who did not seek re-election. None were contested races.

Wrongly printed ballots, however, have some questioning the process, though.

“You are holding an illegal election,” resident Kevin Triller told officials at the Village Office on Monday afternoon.

“We are not,” came Deputy Clerk Donna Barcomb’s firm reply.

Triller headed the effort to dissolve village government; he circulated the petition that prompted the public vote. 

 ‘INTEGRITY COMPROMISES’

Barcomb said a call from a voter alerted the Village Office that the ballot number appeared in the wrong place on the paper each person was given to mark his or her choices.

“It was a mistake on the printer’s part,” she said on Tuesday afternoon. “Nothing was done maliciously.”

The number should have been on the stub that is torn off the ballot before it is submitted.

The concern, Triller said, is that the ballot numbers can be matched to those in the ledgers voters sign before stepping into the ballot box.

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