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Election results: Not so fast, mistake in vote count results in 3 vote margin in county board race

| April 1, 2014 | 0 Comments
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As the previous story from Monday night below reports , when everyone went to bed it appeared as though Adrian Amelse had defeated incumbent board member and former sheriff Geoff Banta by 9 votes. It still appears as though Amelse is the winner of the race but the numbers changed about 11 am Wednesday morning when one the three polling places informed County Clerk Ron Hoff they had made a mistake in reporting their counts and the margin of victory for Amelse was now three votes.

The three polling places in District 20 are in the town of Viroqua, the town of Liberty and in the Village of Viola. 

County Clerk Ron Hoff said he was informed by the clerk in the Village of Viola this morning of the mistake. Hoff said his office has not had a chance to look into how the mistake was made but he will be reviewing the counts in their normal canvass that is scheduled for Tuesday.

Here is what the numbers looked like Tuesday night

________Viola        Liberty       Town of Viroqua       Total

Banta                26              17                  82                                125

Amelse              29              64                  41                               134

Here are the new numbers:

_________Viola        Liberty       Town of Viroqua      Total

Banta                   19             17                  82                                118

Amelse               16              64                  41                                121

Hoff said if the results are still this close after the canvass next week Banta could ask for a recount if he wanted one.

We will keep you updated as we learn more.


Previous story

As elections go this election in April was not considered very exciting with

Geoffrey Banta

Geoffrey Banta

no state wide races and not many high profile races. But there was one race in Vernon County that many voters had their eye on.

For the first time since 1970 former Vernon County Sheriff Geoffrey Banta lost an election in Vernon County. Banta was elected sheriff in 1970 and served in the position until 2001. He was elected to the county board after he retired as sheriff and was running for a fourth term on the board but was defeated by Adrian Amelse who lost to Banta in 2012 by only 20 votes. This time Amelse came out on top winning by nine votes 134-125. The votes seem to have been split between the two candidates with Amelse easily winning the rural portion of the vote in the Liberty township 64-17, Banta winning the town of Viroqua 82-41  and splitting Viola 29-26 with Amelse getting three more votes there.

Adrian Amelse

Adrian Amelse

The loss of Banta from the board could be a signal of a shifting political landscape in Vernon County. Banta was a well respected member of the board who others often looked to for leadership. Banta was vice-chairman and served key roles on the finance and personnel committees.

Banta is an icon in politics in Vernon County with both subsequent sheriffs, Gene Cary and John Spears having their roots in Banta’s department. But Banta was defeated by an impressive candidate in his own right. Amelse is a relative newcomer to the county compared to Banta purchasing a farm in Liberty township 14 years ago, but Amelse has an impressive resume in business working for Apple Computer and Cisco Systems.

One other contested race for county board took place in District 15 where Cade Cary easily defeated Tom Johnson 69-36. Cary previously served in that seat for one term and Johnson ran for the assembly in the last election cycle.

There were no other contested races for the county board even though all 29 seats were up for elections again … two newcomers ran unopposed in open seats and were elected. Lorn Goede in District 1 will replace Robert Starks and Gail Muller in District 25 will replace Francis Hynek.

In an odd twist it appears as though Kevin Gobel from Stoddard will be re-elected even though he filed papers of non-candidacy. With no one running the seat was open for a write in and Gobel received the most write-ins with 3. There were a couple other residents that received one or two votes so County Clerk Ron Hoff said those write-in votes will need to be verified before the winner is declared.

City of Viroqua

Incumbent mayor Larry Fanta wins his 9th term in office defeating challenger Irving Leif

Fanta                  375

Leif                      112

Village of Viola (Three highest vote getters elected)


Daniel Gray                       57   elected

Marilynn Clausen           55   elected

Tom Simonson                46   elected

Donna Simonson             30


Westby School Board

Gerald Roethel and Andrew lipski squared off to fill a seat vacated by outgoing board president Mike Sebion who decided not to run again.

Roethel                   379   winner

Lipski                         69

Incumbent Cary Joholski ran again and was reelected with 562 votes

Viroqua School Board 

Two incumbents running unopposed reelected in Scott Mills and Amanda Running.



Previous story 

Voters in Wisconsin are heading to the polls to decide local races in the spring election.

There’s no statewide race on Tuesday’s ballot, but voters will have their say about their local government and schools. Nearly 6,000 candidates are on the ballots in Wisconsin. They’re running for nearly 3,800 offices. Voters across the state will collectively decide 101 local referendum questions.

The state Government Accountability Board is predicting voter turnout of 12 percent. By comparison, the election in April of last year drew 20 percent of eligible voters who decided statewide races for Supreme Court and state superintendent.

If you are unsure of where to go to vote you can find your local polling location here

Vernon County

All 29 seats on the Vernon County Board of supervisors are up for reelection but only two races have more than one candidate.

In District 15, which includes part of the city of Viroqua, Cade Cary and Tom Johnson have both filed papers to fill the position being vacated by Gary Thompson. Cary represented the district for a term previously. Johnson is a former Democratic candidate for the state assembly.

In District 20, which includes the town of Liberty, part of the town of Viroqua and part of the village of Viola, incumbent Geoffrey Banta is being challenged by Adrian Amelse. Banta defeated Amelse in 2012 by a vote of 107-87.

There are a few districts where candidates are running for their first term in office to fill seats being vacated by incumbents including:

Lorn Goede, District 1, who will replace Robert Starks

Gail Muller, District 25, who will replace Francis Hynek.

One seat will likely be filled by a write-in. Incumbent Kevin Goebel decided not to run again in District 2, which serves part of the town of Bergen and the village of Stoddard and there is no declared candidate.

The rest of the incumbent county board supervisors will be running unopposed including:

Will Beitlich, District 1; JoAnn Nickelatti, District 3; Ralph Hicks, District 4; Jim Servais, District 5; Mary Bringe, District 7; Herb Cornell, District 8; A. Richard Brose, District 9; Jerry Johnson, District 10; Sherman Erlandson, District 11; Eric Evenstad, District 12; Dennis Brault, District 13; Kevin Larson, District 14; Brian Turben, District 16; Karen Dahl, District 17; Gary Davig, District 18; Jerry Cade, District 19; Frank McCoy, District 21; Frank Easterday, District 22; Ole Yttri, District 23; Glenda Sullivan, District 24; Donald Subera, District 26; John Mitchell, District 27; Brian Richardson, District 28; and Shawn Redington, District 29.

City of Viroqua

Incumbent Mayor Larry Fanta will be running for his ninth term and is facing challenger Irving Leif who lost to Fanta in 2012 by a 575-188 vote.

In Viroqua aldermanic districts, incumbent alderman Marc Polsean is running unopposed in Ward 2. Mike Bankes is running unopposed in Ward 4. Bankes would fill the spot of current alderman Gary Krause, who filed papers of non-candidacy. Incumbents Cyndy Hubbard and Jeff Clifton are running unopposed in Wards 6 and 8.

Viroqua School District

Two incumbent members of the Viroqua School Board will likely be re-elected because the are running unopposed.

Scott Mills is finishing his 17th year on the school board Amanda Running is finishing her sixth year on the school board are both running to retain their seats.

Area referendums:

La Crosse Schools –  The referendum is essentially a continuation of the one La Crosse taxpayers are already under and is asking for $20.875 million over five years, or $4.175 million a year. About $3.35 million of that would pay for school programs and staff; $412,500 would go toward technology, and $412,500 would go toward building maintenance.

Taxpayers are already paying that $4.175 million a year, though the proposed referendum would allocate more of that money toward teachers and classroom programs.

Without that money, district officials say classes and curriculum would likely need to be reduced.

West Salem Schools –  West Salem residents have two referendum questions on their April 1 ballot. One is to exceed the state’s revenue cap by $500,000 and the other is to borrow $32 million to build a new middle school.

City of Sparta – referendum to allow certain stores to sell beer within city limits. Sparta has not allowed liquor sales in the city for 50 years.

Monroe County –  A referendum question asking voters if they would like to reduce the number of representatives on the county board of supervisors from 24 down to 16. If the referendum passes each supervisor would go from representing about 1,900 residents per district to around 2,800.

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