How low will it go?

Two Council seats, Home Rule question on ballot, but

KINGMAN - The campaign has drawn to a close, and today some Kingman voters will be heading to the polls to determine who of the remaining four candidates running for City Council should take the remaining two seats.

Turnout was down in the March primary despite three very diverse candidates for mayor and nine total candidates running for Council. Only 25.17 percent of registered voters within city limits cast ballots on March 11, down from 28.60 percent in the 2006 primary election and 30.87 percent in the 2004 primary.

More than 60 percent of the 4,353 voters supported John Salem for mayor, handing him the seat outright in March. Council candidate Robin Gordon also garnered more than the 50 percent needed to take a seat outright.

Mayor Les Byram, Vice Mayor Dave French and Councilmen Tom Carter and Tom Spear did not seek re-election, an unprecedented event in itself. But when 13 candidates gathered the number of signatures needed to seek an elected position, this year's election became another historic moment. One candidate dropped out early in the race, and the March primary eliminated a total of six candidates, two who ran for mayor.

Of the four candidates remaining, Carole Young fared the best during the primary, securing 45.39 percent of the votes. Keith Walker had the second highest percentage with 39.38 percent, followed by Travin Pennington at 32.28 percent and Craig Schritter with 29.43 percent.

The new mayor and Council take office officially June 2.

Also on the ballot is a request to take the city's sanitation department out of the general fund, allowing the city to increase the margin between the state-imposed spending cap. The water and wastewater departments are already

exempted from the general fund calculation through what is known as the Home Rule Option, but as a vote is required every four years, Kingman residents will be asked to approve the exemptions again today.

Candidates have campaigned individually for the support of the community, but despite any differences, all have encouraged registered voters to get to the polls today. They will be open between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., and the results of the election will be available on the Mohave County Web site late this evening.

Voters may log on to www.co.mohave.az.us or call 753-0767 to find their precinct and polling places.

Residents are also invited to attend a town hall meet and greet with the new Council at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the old Elks building on the corner of Fourth and Oak streets. Mayor John Salem will attend, as well. The event is free and open to the public.