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Race for village president in Colp to be decided by coin toss

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COLP — After the votes were counted for Tuesday’s election, the race for village president in Colp was still undecided. Candidates Tammy O’Daniell-Howell and Bryan Riekena each received 11 votes.

“We are not waiting for any absentee ballots, so the vote total should not change,” said Williamson County Clerk Amanda Barnes.

The race will be decided April 20 by the flip of a coin. A coin toss is the way to handle tie votes, according to Illinois statutes.

Barnes said the candidates will come to her office on April 20. The time has not been set, but Barnes expects it to be in the afternoon. She will send them notices when the details are set.

O’Daniell-Howell, a lifelong resident of Colp, is the current village clerk, a position she has held since 2009. No one had expressed interest in running, so she decided to run, in part to honor her father’s memory.

“I wanted to honor my dad. He was mayor for several years and passed away while he was in office,” O’Daniell-Howell said. "I want to support my town.”

She wants to see some changes in Colp.

“The park is a positive, but we need more positive change,” she said.

O’Daniell-Howell is glad the people who voted went to the polls, but she wishes more people would vote.

“I wish that more people would have voted in every town,” she said, adding that even larger towns like Marion had low voters turnout.

Riekena, the other candidate for Colp village president, said 29 out of the 250 registered voters in the village showed up at the polls.

“I would have liked to see a little more than 11 or 12 percent show up,” Riekena said.

Riekena, who describes his occupation as “geek,” went to the Williamson County Courthouse on Wednesday morning to find out how the tie would be resolved. He said he arrived as they were finishing a phone call to Illinois State Board of Elections. He was told at that time they would do a coin flip.

Riekena came to Southern Illinois University on a swimming scholarship. He stayed after earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

He started going to Colp Village Board meetings and felt like he could make a positive change, saying the small town needs to upgrade its infrastructure.

“It’s almost like we got left in late 1980s early 1990s. The playground is a good thing — a really good thing. Solar panels would be nice,” Riekena said.

Incumbent village board member Marcella Clark was re-elected with 13 votes, four more than challenger James W. Howell. Clark, who has served on the board since about 1999, has diligently worked on the playground project.

Clark hopes the playground is the beginning of all sorts of positive change in the community.

“I’m so happy and proud of it. Our little small village is trying to improve and have something for the children,” Clark said.

There were no candidates for clerk, treasurer or an unexpired two-year term for village trustee. Colp Village Board meets the first Monday of each month.

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