Dubois County Election Board Cuts Voting Costs as it Faces Low Voter Turnout This Year


DUBOIS COUNTY -- A lot of voters in Dubois County won’t need to cast a vote in this year’s municipal election since there are only six contested races.

In Jasper, three districts have choices for voters. Republican Chad Lueken and Democrat Daniel Kreilein are vying for the District 3 seat. Both are new candidates as Republican John Bell announced he would not run for reelection. In District 4, Incumbent Democrat Dave Hurst is being challenged by Republican Adrien Engelberth. In District 5, Republican Paul Lorey is running against incumbent Democrat Earl Schmitt.

Huntingburg has two contested races. One in Precinct 4 where Independent Amber Wahl and Republican Jose Dubon are facing off as new candidates for the seat being vacated by Kerry Blessinger. Incumbent Independent Tim Wehr is being challenged by Republican Keith “Curly” Souders for the at-large seat. All Huntingburg voters will vote for the at-large seat.

In Ferdinand, Republican Don Farina Sr. is making another run against incumbent Democrat Ken Sicard for District 1.

A list of all the candidates is at the bottom of this story.

All the other positions up for election in Jasper, Huntingburg, Ferdinand, and Holland are running unopposed.

In light of this as well as the very low turn out for this year’s primary election, the Dubois County Election Board passed a resolution to take some cost-saving measures for the November election.

According to County Clerk Amy Kippenbrock, the county budgeted $9,000 to run the elections this year and the primary ate up $5,983.29 of that budget with a two percent turnout from voters. Kippenbrock said she thought Dubois County had the lowest voter turnout in the state for the 2019 primary but she felt the lack of contested races contributed to that low turnout. She also explained this would likely carry over into the municipal election being held on November

“With this being a municipal election cycle, and no mayoral race or city/townwide races, voter turnout is expected to be similar this fall,” she explained.

At the election board meeting today, Kippenbrock proposed a resolution to limit the ballots and polling locations for the municipal election to save money. According to the resolution, only voters in those precincts/districts with contested races be given the opportunity to vote in the election. The ballot for this year will also only show the names of those candidates in the contested races.

Kippenbrock explained the county would save money in couple areas by limiting the ballots and polling areas. She plans on reducing the number of voting machines from the 50 that were used for the primary to 30 this November. This would equate to about $1,560 in savings. Along with that, polling areas would be reduced to serve only those districts where there are contested races.

The reduced machines and reduced polling areas will reduce the number of paid poll workers needed for the election. She estimated that would save about $780.

Early voting will operate the same number of hours leading up to the election as it did for the primary because the state mandates the county cannot reduce the number of hours from what was offered for the primary election in the spring.

Official ballots have not been approved yet but with the resolution, the ballots will only include the names of those candidates in the contested races.

Voters who show up during early voting who don’t have a race in their district will be informed by poll workers that they don’t need to vote in this year’s municipal election.

Jasper Candidates

  • Dean Vonderheide — Mayor (Republican)
  • Allen Seifert — Clerk-Treasurer (Democrat)
  • Nancy Eckerly — Council-at-Large (Republican)
  • Phil Muncy — Council-at-Large (Republican)
  • John Schroeder — Council District 2 (Democrat)
  • Chad Lueken — Council District 3 (Republican)
  • Daniel Kreilein — Council District 3 (Democrat)
  • Dave Hurst — Council District 4 (Democrat)
  • Adrian Engelberth — Council District 4 (Republican)
  • Earl Schmitt — Council District 5 (Democrat)
  • Paul Lorey — Council District 5 (Republican)
  • Kevin Manley — Council District 6 (Republican)

Huntingburg Candidates

  • Dennie Spinner — Mayor (Republican)
  • Tom Dippel — Clerk-Treasurer (Democrat)
  • Keith “Curly” Souders — Council-at-Large (Republican)
  • Tim Wehr — Council-at-Large (Independent)
  • Glen Kissling — Council Precinct 1 (Republican)
  • Jeff Bounds — Council Precinct 2 (Republican)
  • Steve McPherron — Council Precinct 3 (Republican)
  • Amber Wahl — Council Precinct 4 (Independent)
  • José Dubon — Council Precinct 4 (Republican)

Ferdinand Candidates

  • Tammy Miller — Clerk-Treasurer (Democrat)
  • Ron Weyer — Council-at- Large (Democrat)
  • Don Farina Sr. — Council District 1 (Republican)
  • Ken Sicard — Council District 1 (Democrat)
  • Debbie Johnson — Council District 2 (Democrat)

Holland Candidates

  • Ray Schuetter — Clerk-Treasurer (Republican)
  • Melanie Barrett — Council-at-Large (Republican)
  • Tom Thacker — Council-at-large (Republican)

The story has been updated to reflect that Huntingburg has two contested races. District 4 and the At-Large seats on the council. We omitted the At-Large contest due to an error in reading the County Clerk’s report regarding candidates in the upcoming election.