By Susan Redden
Randee Kaiser officially won the race for Jasper County sheriff on Tuesday when he defeated John Karriman, the Libertarian candidate, by a margin of more than 5 to 1.
According to complete, unofficial tallies, Kaiser received 35,549 votes — 83.4 percent — to 6,699 for Karriman.
Kaiser, the assistant chief of the Carthage Police Department, defeated incumbent Sheriff Archie Dunn and Larry Newman to win the Republican nomination.
The sheriff’s race was the only one that remained for Jasper County voters after the rest of the contests were decided in the August primary.
The turnout among Jasper County voters was nearly 59 percent and several polls remained open after the official closing time because voters still were waiting in line. According to Bonnie Earl, Jasper County clerk, the longest line was at Royal Heights United Methodist Church, where more than 100 voters were in line at the official time for polls to close.
At Duquesne City Hall, a line of people waiting to vote stretched around the building when polls opened, a poll worker said.
Earl noted a few other problems not necessarily related to the heavy turnout. Workers changed out voting machines at Duquesne City Hall and Carterville Christian Church because of problems with the digital readout. The machine’s readout would sometimes identify the vote as invalid when the voter fed his ballot into the machine, she said.
“That doesn’t count the vote — only the number of votes — but I understand why people were concerned. We changed those machines out,” Earl said.