Village elects dead man as mayor

Village elects dead man as mayor
By: Carly O'keefe

RIDGWAY, Il--Tom Mitchell won the Ridgway, Illinois mayoral election with nearly 63% of the vote.  It was a landslide victory, but there's one big problem.
"He died of an aneurism after the filing date and his name was left on the ticket. He won the position of mayor of Ridgway," said Temporary Ridgway Mayor David Mills.
Mitchell's name couldn't be taken off the ballot without a judge ordering its removal, so folks in Ridgway voted for him. But most if not all knew Mitchell couldn't take office when they cast their vote.
"Everybody knew he'd passed away," said Mills. 
Ridgway resident Sharon Heath cast her vote for the deceased candidate with the intention of getting Mitchell's wife appointed to office.
"I feel the large number of people thought tom would be good and we feel his wife would do a great job too," Heath said.
Others in town think folks should have just voted for the other candidate.
"The people don't realize they're throwing more power into the hands of the board, they'll gripe about the government controlling them, but then they have a chance, and they don't take it. They vote for somebody who isn't here anymore," said Ed Atikins of Ridgway.
Mills doesn't know who the next Ridgway mayor will be. If the Gallatin County Clerk certifies the election results, the Ridgway Board of Trustees can appoint a new mayor as soon as their next meeting which will be the first Tuesday in May.
"It's offered to the village board. If any of them want to be mayor they will be appointed by the board. If not, we'll go outside the board and appoint the mayor for the village for an unexpired 2-year term until the next general election," said Mills.