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Smithfield finalizes election results, welcomes 2 Council newcomers

November 18th, 2015 Posted in Opinion

By Rebecca Wheatley

SMITHFIELD — City councilmembers voted to finalize the city’s General Election results during their meeting last week, welcoming newcomers Curtis Wall and Deon Hunsaker, and the only returning incumbent, Jeffrey H. Barnes.

Barnes was the top vote-getter, with 658; Wall had 570, followed by Hunsaker with 566. Wade Campbell had 502 and Jeffry Gittins had 426.

Two incumbents, Dennis Watkins and Brent Buttars, chose to step down after each serving two terms.

Overall, officials were pleased with voter turnout. City recorder Justin Lewis said 20.55 percent of registered voters participated in the election.

“I am always hopeful the percentage will be higher,” Lewis said. “But since there wasn’t a governor, president or something like the school bond on the ballot, I expected about that many people to vote.”

Officials decided to hold in-person voting only this year, at the Civic Center, unlike other Cache Valley cities, like Providence, that had all-mail balloting.

“In the last numbers I heard from Providence, they’re going to end up with about 47 percent and Logan will have over 29 percent,” Lewis said.

He said 25 percent of those who voted this year cast ballots during the early-voting period.

Wall, one of the two Council newcomers, said he is excited.

“People need to be actively involved in serving their community,” Wall said. “I’m excited that this is one way I can do that.”

Mayor Darrell Simmons said he’s looking forward to working with new faces.

“We look forward their contribution, but we’ll miss Dennis and Brent,” Simmons said. “And we have enjoyed our time with Jeff. We’re excited to have him back.”

Simmons said he was very pleased with the numbers of Smithfield’s election.

“It’s a really great thing to see the people of Smithfield [are] still part of the election process,” Simmons said. “It’s an honor and a tremendous learning experience to serve your community at the grassroots level, and it’s something everyone should get a chance to do.”

Watkins and Buttars have been invited to talk about their time in office during the next Council meeting. Their replacements’ term will start in January.

TP

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