Election proves small-town government can be all about change
The Colp Village election for president ended with both Tammy O’Daniel-Howell and Bryan Riekena garnering half the votes.
So on Thursday, it was decided with a quarter.
An 11-11 tie in voting led to the rare step of flipping a coin to decide the winner. Lifelong resident O'Daniel-Howell chose heads and will now become the new village leader.
A very small electorate, combined with a sparse showing at the polls, contributed to the unusual outcome.
O’Daniel-Howell explained to the SE Illinois News that although a coin toss to decide an election might seem odd, it is not without precedent.
“I guess that’s how the state handles it,” she said.
Still, the election, though close, was not acrimonious; O’Daniel-Howell says she still wants Riekena to have a spot on the village board.
“I’m all for younger people’s opinions,” O’Daniel-Howell said. “They are our future. I hope to work with everyone – that’s what’s best for our community.”
As for what issues drove her campaign, O’Daniel-Howell said she wants to focus on cleaning up properties in the town, in addition to her plans for improving park areas mentioned in comments to WSIL ABC on April 20.
O’Daniel-Howell cited abandoned lots and a few buildings that need work. A “freak storm” in 2009, she said, took down some trees, and that requires more clean-up work.
She said she’s also attentive to an issue Riekena brought up during the campaign, which was the potential of using solar energy for infrastructure.
“I believe that’s a good idea,” O’Daniel-Howell said.
Colp Village, she said, isn’t a big city: The current population hovers at around 250, though past U.S. Census numbers have gone over 1,000 during the last century.
Still, O’Daniel-Howell, who has been village clerk since 2009, said she wants to work for everyone who lives in the area.