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Outgoing councilman wants election official out

February 12, 2005|by TARA REILLY

HANCOCK

tarar@herald-mail.com

An outgoing Hancock town councilman has called for the ouster of the town's election supervisor, saying problems with the town's most recent and past elections justify his removal.

Yost made the statements Wednesday at a Hancock Town Council meeting - his last meeting as a councilman.

Yost ran against Mayor Daniel A. Murphy in the Jan. 31 election, losing to Murphy by 78 votes.

Unimpressed with some town practices, Yost also said he's forming a group tentatively called Citizens for a Better Hancock to lobby for or against matters affecting the town.

In particular, Yost has said he opposed the council's decision to raise water and sewer rates and property taxes this past summer.

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Among the problems that Yost said occurred during the election involved two residents who were refused assistance they desired while voting.

He said the two voters brought people along to assist them in the voting booth, but Election Supervisor Lowell Younker refused to allow those people in.

Younker said Friday that he didn't want to comment at this time, but that's it's possible he will make public statements at a later date.

One of the residents had to vote without assistance, and the other voter was accompanied by poll workers instead of the person that voter brought along, Yost said.

In addition, Yost said other problems occurred during the election that involved nonpublic officials.

Yost also said that two years ago, Younker refused to attend a meeting on the town's election process because he didn't want to meet with Councilman Darwin Mills.

He said he thought Younker should be obligated to do what the town tells him.

"Because of past election problems ... and these problems at this election and for refusing to meet with a councilman, I call for the removal of Mr. Younker as head election supervisor for the Town of Hancock," Yost said. "If he will not resign, I strongly recommend that he be replaced when his term is up next year."

Yost said he didn't make his statements because he was upset about losing the election. His intention was to bring the problems to light so that the town can improve its election process.

"This may sound like sour grapes, but I assure you it is not," Yost said. "I accept the defeat graciously. I do not think any of these incidents caused me to lose the election ... I just want to point them out so they will not occur next time."

Mills, who was defeated in his bid for re-election, also voiced displeasure with the "irregularities" in the town's election.

"This should never have happened," he said after Yost's comments.

Murphy didn't respond to the claims directly, but said he was looking forward to working with the town's two new councilmen and leaving "a lot of negativity" behind.

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