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What to expect on the ballot: Dowagiac

Published 8:45am Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The first step in deciding the ownership of several key state and local leadership positions takes place today, as the polls open for the 2014 primary election.

A number of highly contested nominations are facing many of the 39,942 Cass County voters on Tuesday.

“The big race is the 59th district, on the Republican ticket, since you have four individuals vying for one spot,” said County Clerk Monica Kennedy.

The four men in contention for the Republican nomination are John Bippus, of Three Rivers; Aaron Miller, of Sturgis; Roger Rathburn, of Three Rivers and Bob Sills, of Three Rivers. The four are running for the Republican nomination for the 59th district seat in the state House of Representatives, currently held by Matt Lori, who cannot seek reelection due term limits.

Mike Moroz, of Dowagiac, is running unopposed for the Democratic
nomination.

The 59th district extends through the majority of Cass County, including the city of Dowagiac and the village of Cassopolis, along with most of the surrounding townships.

The seven positions on the Cass County Board of Commissioners will also be on the ballot Tuesday, with all seven incumbents seeking reelection this year. Most of the candidates between both parties will be running unopposed.

The first district race, though, will see incumbent and current chair Robert Wagel, of Dowagiac, facing challenger Lazarus Alexander for the Republican nomination. Democrat James Jerue is running opposed for his party’s choice for the November ballot.

The first county district encompasses the entirety of Silver Creek and Wayne townships, as well the majority of La Grange Township and part of the City of Dowagiac.

“We may see a higher turnout in that district,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy and her staff at the county clerk’s office expect to see an average turnout at the polls this year, based on the number of absentee ballots that have been turned in thus far. Typically, only around 15 to 20 percent of the county electorate casts their votes in August, Kennedy said.

“I would be surprised if we see more than a 20 percent turnout,” she said.

All of the county’s voting precincts will be open on Tuesday, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters are required to bring a photo ID with them in order to vote. Sample ballots will be available at each polling location.

“We’re not expecting long lines, so we it hope it will be a fairly smooth process for voters,” Kennedy said.

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