9:15 p.m. – Ron Oler defeats Dave Snow for Richmond Mayor

Ron Oler watches election results come in Nov. 7, 2023. Photo by Joshua Smith

Although Richmond will have a new mayor, he won’t be a new face to area voters.

Ron Oler, who has served on Richmond Common Council for 12 years, defeated two-term Richmond Mayor Dave Snow on Tuesday.

In unofficial results, Oler, a Republican, received 51.23 percent of the vote (2,717) before provisional ballots were counted.

Snow, a Democrat, received 2,078 votes, or 39.18%.

The race also had two independent candidates, Howard Price and David Carpenter. Price received 408 votes, or 7.69%. Carpenter earned 101 votes, or 1.90%.

9:13 p.m. – 3 Republican newcomers win Richmond Common Council seats

Republican Anne Taylor defeated Democratic incumbent Jeffrey Locke for the District 5 seat on Richmond Common Council in the Nov. 7 municipal election, leading three Republican newcomers who will join council Jan. 1

“I’m very excited,” Taylor said. “I’m looking forward to working for everyone and bringing back integrity, transparency and accountability to Richmond and making it an all American city it used to be.”

Taylor received 497 (60.54%) votes to 324 (39.46%) for Locke.

Two Republican newcomers — Jerry Purcell and Justin Burkhardt — won at-large council seats along with Republican incumbent Jane Bumbalough.

Purcell, a former Richmond Fire Department chief, received 2,812 (20.01%) votes, Bumbalough 2,669 (19.00%) and Burkhardt 2,596 (18.48%). They beat Democrats Ron Itnyre, 2,086 (14.85%); Claudia Edwards, 2,042 (14.53%); and Carl Rhinehart III, 1,845 (13.13%).

“I’m just so happy that we were all successful, that the team we formed was successful,” said Purcell, including Taylor and victorious mayoral candidate Ron Oler as team members. “I’m excited, I’ll be honest with you, that we swept.”

Purcell said the candidates worked together, saying “we had each other’s backs,” during the campaign. Billboards feature all of the winning Republican candidates.

Lucinda Wright in District 2 was the only Democrat to win or retain a council seat. Although she’s been on council for two years, this is the first time her district has elected her. A Democrat caucus selected Wright to replace Kelley Cruse-Nicholson when Cruse-Nicholson moved from the district.

Wright received 269 (55.46%) of the votes to 216 (44.54%) for Republican Gary Miller.

Wright said she felt good, “because they trust me to work for them on their behalf, and that’s what I’ve always done. It’s a blessing.”

Four other Common Council members retained their seats without opposition in the election. Democrat Doug Goss received 432 votes in District 1, Democrat Bill Engle received 776 votes in District 3, Republican Larry Parker received 813 votes in District 4, leaving his At-Large seat to take over Jeff Cappa’s seat, and Republican Gary Turner received 740 votes in District 6.

With the results, Republicans will occupy six of the nine Common Council seats.

An earlier version of this update incorrectly identified Lucinda Wright as a Republican; she is a Democrat.

8:51 p.m. – Milton Town Council At Large loses one incumbent, gains two new members

Three of four current members who ran for re-election will retain their seats on Milton’s town council and will be joined by two newcomers.

Phillip Allen Edwards, Hugh D. Payne, Jr. and Segdrick Satterfield, all Republicans, each won enough votes to continue representing Milton residents. The challengers for the remaining two seats, Republican Dwight D. Smith and Democrat Larry Joe Harris, with 48 and 32 votes respectively, surpassed incumbent John Noland’s 29 votes.

Edwards garnered 46 votes, Satterfield 41 votes and Payne 32 votes.

8:49 p.m. – Cambridge City Town Council win goes to Cole

Challenger Gary Cole prevailed over incumbent Jeff Mardis to win the District 5 seat on Cambridge City Town Council.

In early voting, only seven Cambridge City voters expressed their preference in the race, but the final count put Mardis at 61 votes and Cole at 100 votes.

8:25 p.m. – Uncertified results are arriving now

Uncertified results are available now from the clerk’s office and are available online at https://www.co.wayne.in.us/clerk/election/results.html. We’re analyzing them and will share summaries shortly. As noted earlier in the day, the use of provisional ballots for the extended voting hours in Richmond mean that races there may not be considered final until those ballots are opened and counted 10 days from now.

7:20 p.m. – Candidates gather to wait for results

Candidates and supporters have begun gathering in Whitewater Hall on the campus of Indiana University East in Richmond to wait for election results.

7:00 p.m. – Early voting results posted

The Wayne County clerk’s office has posted results from early voting, which do not indicate probable winners but give some insights into voting activity and turnout leading up to Election Day.

6:00 p.m. – WCTV live coverage is on air

Whitewater Community Television’s live coverage of the election is now on air. You can watch on Facebook Live, WGTV online streaming or Localbtv.

2:30 p.m. – Extended voting hours court approval

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge April Drake has approved the election board’s extension of Richmond voting hours until 7 p.m. today, according to clerk Debbie Berry.

1 p.m. – Voter photo gallery

Voting is continuing across Wayne County for races in Cambridge City, Milton and Richmond. Joshua Smith captured these moments for the Western Wayne News at area vote centers.

12:15 p.m. – Election board extends Richmond voting hours

By a unanimous 3-0 vote, the Wayne County election board voted to extend Richmond vote center hours until 7 p.m. That decision requires a judge’s ruling to go into effect. County clerk Debbie Berry is preparing the paperwork for county attorney Ron Cross to present to a judge later today.

Anyone who votes between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. will use a provisional ballot that cannot be opened and fully counted until 10 days after the election. If a given contested race is closer than the number of provisional ballots cast, a winner of the race could not be reasonably determined until those provisional ballots are counted.

Berry said that she is not aware of any provisional ballots having been cast today so far due to the power outage.

Even without considering provisional ballots, because of this change uncertified election results will not be available any earlier than 7 p.m. today.

11:10 a.m. – Election board considers extending voting hours

Wayne County Clerk Debbie Berry said all of the county’s vote centers are open for voting, and despite the power outage, that hasn’t been voters’ biggest complaint today.

All four of Richmond’s vote centers were running again by 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Berry said the election board is working with the secretary of state’s office to determine if they can extend today’s voting hours beyond the traditional 6 p.m. closing time, but no determination has yet been made. An emergency election board meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

The disruption began when the power went out a few minutes before 8 a.m. at the courthouse. Staff soon received calls from poll workers that they lacked electricity too.

Election officials began implementing emergency plans.

Tara Pegg headed to vote centers to deliver the small supply of paper ballots remaining that had been printed for those who asked to vote by mail.

And, as part of the safe election plan, police officers began patrolling vote center sites.

Staff also began working on longer-term solutions if the outage persisted. Four generators were secured and people were being recruited to lift them when the power came back on, so they were not delivered to vote centers.

Berry said voting could continue at some sites because the scanners used for identification and electronic poll books had battery backups that could last for a while. However, if the power had been off for the full 12 hours of voting, they might have been in trouble, she said.

Berry’s main concern was voter safety at First Bank Kuhlman Center because it does not have windows. Those poll workers asked voters to drive to another vote center.

Most voters said they could get to another site, Berry said. Kuhlman’s poll workers helped a couple of voters who were on their way to work and said they needed to cast their ballots then.

While the power outage was disconcerting, Berry said more voters expressed frustration Tuesday as they learned they were not eligible to vote in Cambridge City, Milton and Richmond municipal elections because they don’t live inside city or town limits.

Another voter thought she’d be able to cast a ballot for president today, but that election isn’t until 2024, Berry said.

11 a.m. – Milton voting going smoothly

There were no issues with power in Milton. Voting was slow but at least half a dozen voters arrived during the time WWN’s Jenny Pugh was observing. One voter who lives on the town line had trouble as her address appeared to be out of town, but after further investigation and a couple of phone calls to the Wayne County Clerk, the resident was able to fill out a change of address form and cast a provisional vote.

Beth Leisure talks on the phone at the Milton voting center, Election Day 2023. Photo by Jenny Pugh

This was Beth Leisure’s first year as inspector and Joy May’s second year as a poll worker. May felt it was her civic duty to volunteer and she is excited about being part of the next presidential election process.

Poll worker Bonnie says her parents always volunteered during elections when she was growing up in Connersville and it only seemed natural to pick up where they left. She remembers when churches and social clubs brought lunch for the workers. She says it feels good to volunteer and it helps that she is retired and has more time to do so.

Curran Koehler felt that volunteering as a poll worker was a great way to meet people out in the community and to do his part.

At age 19, voter Clarissa felt it was part of her duty to vote and the poll workers were excited to see a young person getting involved.

Current council member and incumbent Hugh Payne was on hand to cast his vote as well. He much prefers the paper ballot process and encourages young people to get out and vote and get involved regardless of their party affiliations, saying they need to stand up for their values.

10:30 a.m. – Live election coverage tonight on WCTV

Join the Western Wayne News and our election partners tonight at 6 p.m. for a live Election Night Special brought to you by Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce, Western Wayne News and Whitewater Community Television.

We will be in Whitewater Hall at Indiana University East to deliver the 2022 General Election Results as they come in, as well as here online.

Tune in to watch on WGTV Channel 11, Localbtv App Channel 74.3, WGTV Online (wgtv.viebit.com) and Facebook Live.

10:15 a.m. – Power outage leads to RCS early dismissal

Richmond Community Schools is dismissing students early because of the area power outage. Students in grades 7 through 12 took buses home or were picked up at school. All prekindergarten to sixth-grade students were required to be picked up by parents or guardians.

10:05 a.m. – First Baptist Church greets voters

Shortly before 9 a.m., several voters headed into First Baptist Church at South 16th and A streets in Richmond, where electricity had been restored.

Voters walk into First Baptist Church at South 16th and A streets, which had had its power restored. Photo by Millicent Martin Emery

Rick and Vanh Galloway of Richmond were among those who initially went to First English Lutheran Church to vote.

Fortunately, being self-employed made it easier to take time to visit another polling site a few blocks away, Rick said.

“I just like fiscal responsibility,” Rick said about his motivation to vote, along with individual liberty and freedom. “I don’t like woke policies.”

“I just want to be responsible for what I believe,” Vanh said about what drew her to vote.

Candidates and their supporters traditionally greet voters at a distance outside polling places, and that morning was no exception.

Republicans and Democrats were both represented at that time outside First Baptist.

“The whole week has been very surreal,” said Richmond Common Council at-large candidate Jane Bumbalough told Western Wayne News as she greeted voters.

Bumbalough noted that campaigning is different as an incumbent than when she first ran for council four years ago and knew less about city operations.

Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic add to the differences between 2019 and 2023.

“ … It’s not been a normal four years for anybody,” Bumbalough said.

Tuesday morning’s power outage then added an unexpected twist in the voting process.

“Who would have ever expected this on Election Day?” she said.

However, Bumbalough said the election season overall has been positive.

“It’s been very good how people have come together,” said Bumbalough, who is running on the Republican ticket. “Our team has come together over time in support of each other.”

“I hope and pray we have a great turnout today,” Bumbalough concluded.

9:15 a.m. – Voting was steady, until it wasn’t

Voting progressed steadily at First English Lutheran Church until the power went out shortly after before 8 a.m. Inspector Dixie Armstrong said 106 ballots had been cast in the nearly two hours between the 6 a.m. poll opening and the power outage.

Some voters left when power went out, Armstrong said, but others remained in the lobby outside the darkened voting hall. Poll workers mingled with the voters.

Voters wait in the dark at First English Lutheran Church. Photo by Mike Emery

Nolan Tatum of Richmond sat on a bench just inside the First English doors. He planned to wait for a while, but said he could vote later in the day, if necessary.

John and Teresa Shipley of Richmond waited inside the church, but John, who needed to start work at 9 a.m., was watching the clock. When Armstrong announced at 8:30 a.m. that voting had resumed at First Baptist Church, which is about 11 blocks from First English, the Shipleys left to vote there.

The outage would not have prevented them from voting later in the day, but they prefer voting together. John said they’ve always voted together throughout 48 years of marriage.

Poll worker Gwen Halsted said voters were patient when the power went out. She stood outside the hall where voting occurred, while, other poll workers sat at their tables patiently waiting for voting to resume.

About 8:35 a.m., iPads powered by batteries were delivered to the church. Armstrong said those would enable voting to resume.

8:45 a.m. — Regional power outage affects vote centers

A “regional transmission outage” affecting power delivery to larger parts of Wayne County has thrown a wrench in election day at area vote centers. According to the Wayne County Clerk’s office, several locations including First English Lutheran Church and the First Bank Kuhlman Center have completely lost power and were unable to facilitate voting.

Milton’s Town Hall location is fully operational. Other locations like First Baptist Church and Golay Center appeared to have at least partial power, but the Clerk’s office advised voters to call 765-973-9304 to confirm that a given polling location had power before visiting this morning. Voters who do show up to a location without power may still be able to cast a provisional ballot.

IT staff supporting the election are working to bring vote centers back online even if power is out for an extended period, including the use of battery-operated tablet devices.

The Clerk’s office told the Western Wayne News that if a ballot was already successfully cast before the power outage, it is safely recorded.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

6 a.m. — Election Day begins

The polls are open! Today is Election Day and as long as you are in by 6 p.m. with a valid photo ID, you will be allowed to vote.

These six locations are open for voting:

  1. First Bank Kuhlman Center, 861 N. Salisbury Rd, Richmond, IN 47374
  2. First English Lutheran Church, 2727 East Main Street, Richmond, IN 47374
  3. Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 1108 N H Street, Richmond, IN 47374
  4. First Baptist Church, 1601 South A Street, Richmond, IN 47374
  5. Golay Center, 1007 East Main Street, Cambridge City, IN 47327
  6. Milton Town Hall, 101 N Central Ave, Milton, IN 47357

Only voters who live inside town limits will be permitted to vote in these town elections.

Check out our full 2023 Election Guide for more information about candidates, issues and the voting process.

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A version of this article appeared in the November 15 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.

Chris Hardie is the owner and publisher of the Western Wayne News.

Jenny Pugh is a columnist and business manager at the Western Wayne News.