Elections heat up in Douglas County
Douglas County could be in for an overhaul this fall - all five commissioners' seats have been put on the 2012 ticket.
Before the federally mandated redistricting was implemented this spring, only two commissioners were expected to file this year - Bev Bales and Jerry Johnson.
Now, Norm Salto, Paul C. Anderson and Dan Olson will need to re-up their candidacy because the populations in their districts, 2, 4 and 5, have increased.
Douglas County Deputy Auditor/Treasurer Vicki Doehling explained that annexation of areas into the city of Alexandria over the past decade caused the city to adjust its ward lines. Districts 2, 4 and 5 were affected because they contain one or more city wards within their boundaries.
When the district lines were redrawn for evenly populated districts in the county, it changed population percentages enough so elections must be held for the remaining two years of Salto, Anderson and Olson's four-year terms - affecting commissioners who were previously elected to serve four-year terms.
If a shift in the boundary of a district affects more than 5 percent of the average district size in the county, state statute requires a new election of commissioners at the next general election.
"When calculating the total number of individuals shifted into and out of each of these commissioner districts during the redistricting process, all three of those commissioner districts went over the allowable 5 percent threshold," Doehling said. "All five commissioner districts will hold an election in 2012, three of which will be elected for the remaining two years of the normal four-year term."
Redistricting in 2012 is based on census numbers gathered in 2010.
Districts elected in 2010 where a population change was smaller than 5 percent are exempted from running for office in 2012.
The filing period for commissioner positions opens on May 22 and will close on June 5. A primary election will be held on Tuesday, August 14 if enough candidates enter the commissioner races. The general election is on Tuesday, November 6.
In order to qualify for candidacy, an affidavit of candidacy must be submitted affirming that a person is: eligible to vote in Minnesota; has not filed for any office in the upcoming primary or general election; will be 21 years of age or more when assuming office; will have maintained residence in said district for at least 30 days before the general election and if a major political party candidate, has either participated in the party's most recent precinct caucuses or intends to vote for a majority of that party's candidates at the next general election.
An affidavit of candidacy and more information can be found at www.sos.state.mn.us.