For the second time in two weeks, voters in Hannibal’s Fifth Ward cast more votes for Colin Welch than the nearest opponent — cementing him as the new representative on Hannibal’s City Council for the ward.
Welch, with 116 votes, achieved 65 percent of the vote to incumbent Gordon Ipson’s 61 votes in Tuesday’s runoff election.
Fifteen votes were cast in the Ralls County portion of the Ward and 162 cast in Marion County.
The runoff election was necessitated by Hannibal city charter rules.
According to the Hannibal Charter, in any municipal election in which there are three or more candidates seeking the same office, if "no candidate receives a majority of the total votes cast" (over 50 percent), a runoff between the top two vote-getters will occur.
On Tuesday, April 4, Welch led all Fifth Ward candidates with 159 votes, or 47.9 percent. The runner-up was Ipson, with 105 votes (31.6 percent). Third in the three-man field was Richard Garrett with 68 votes (20.5 percent).
Garrett was not included on the ballot in the runoff election.
Runoff races in Hannibal are rare, but not unprecedented. The last such election occurred in April 2010 when there was not one, but two races which met the city’s runoff criteria. Those races featured candidates from the Second and Third Wards.
The Second Ward race matched Mike Dobson and Joe Lyng. In the Third Ward Lou Barta squared off against Roy Que Ferrel Jr.
Dobson and Barta prevailed in the runoffs.
Marion County Clerk Valerie Dornberger expressed some concern with Hannibal’s policy regarding runoff elections, citing a short window for absentee voting and proper notices in local newspapers.
The city of Hannibal will have to eat the cost of the runoff election, which will not be known for some time.
It is projected the runoff election will cost the city thousands of dollars.