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April 11, 2012 06:00 PM

Viborg Winner Not Registered In Contested Ward

Viborg, SD

In Viborg, officials found the winning candidate in the city council election is not registered to vote in the contested ward.

Officials say Robert D. Kolthoff received nearly half the votes in Tuesday's city council seat in Ward III. But officials are hesitating to name him the winner after learning he is still registered to vote in Ward II.

With just 54 votes cast, Financial Director Lori Ronke said Kolthoff gained 23 of them, over Shelley Fox and James Hybergson.

But the Secretary of State's office says an investigation revealed Kolthoff failed to re-register to vote after moving from Ward II to his current house in Ward III several years ago.

Now city leaders say they don't know if Kolthoff is disqualified or if he should take the one-year term left open after a previous city council member moved outside the city.

Both Ronke and the Viborg city attorney declined on-camera interviews but say they are waiting for word from Secretary of State Jason Gant about what to do in the election.

Ronke said if Kolthoff is disqualified, the city council will appoint a new member next month.

But the mix-up has many residents wondering why the local politician didn't know better before running for the city council seat.

"If I don't follow the rules, I get disqualified. Everybody has to follow the rules. I think he should have followed the rules and I don't think he should get it. He's not here. He's not registered here," Jolene Kessler said.

KELOLAND News was not able to reach Kolthoff for comment.

Wednesday, the city will discuss what to do at 7 o'clock at City Hall when a canvassing of the votes will take place.

If Kolthoff is declared the winner, a decision could be made to disqualify him and appoint a new member.

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