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Low turnout for township elections in Douglas County

What if they held an election and no one came?

That was almost the case on Tuesday during the township elections that took place in Douglas County.

Many of the 18 townships that held elections reported very small turnouts, some in the single-digits.

Urness Township, for instance, has 188 registered voters but only nine showed up to vote -- a turnout of less than 5 percent. Voters there even had an additional question on the ballot: Whether to make the clerk and township positions appointed instead of elected. It passed, 8-1.

Of course, most of the townships had uncontested races, which contributed to the low turnout.

Here’s the rundown of what happened:


Incumbent supervisors Julie Feuling and Russell Niskanen both re-elected with 29 votes each.


Jodi Niblett elected treasurer with 15 votes and incumbent supervisor Doug Steidl received 15 votes. No one filed for clerk, but incumbent clerk Geri Rindahl won the election with 10 write-in votes; Angie Nelson received one write-in vote.


No election. Elections take place in November of even-numbered years.


Incumbent supervisor Rodney Meyers and incumbent clerk Rebecca Anderson were re-elected with 23 votes each. Eric Thesing received one write-in vote.


Incumbent clerk Kim Ostlund received 14 votes and incumbent supervisor Tony Wright received 14 votes. Voters were also asked if the township should appoint the clerk and treasurer positions and there were 10 “yes” and 3 “no” votes for appointing the treasurer, and 10 “yes” votes and 2 “no” votes for appointing the clerk.


Arthur Isackson was re-elected supervisor and Terrance Cooper was re-elected clerk. Both received 15 votes each.


Incumbent Roxane Westergren beat out challenger Jeffrey Tvrdik for the supervisor position – Westergren received 32 votes and Tvrdik picked up 22. Incumbent Joan Eastlund was re-elected as clerk with 46 votes; write-ins Jim Schoeberl received one vote and Westergren received one vote.


Incumbent Barb Kilgore for clerk was re-elected. Michael Steidl was elected into a supervisor position.


Stevent Schmidt was elected as supervisor with 27 votes.


Incumbents Nichole Boyden for clerk and James Schmidt for supervisor were re-elected with 12 votes. Boyden, tongue-in-cheek, described the night as a “mad dash to the polls.”


Incumbents Brant Ost for supervisor and Pam Cuperus for clerk were both re-elected after running unopposed. A total of 34 voters showed up, the exact same as last year.


Both incumbents Troy Hart for supervisor and Tom Reddick for clerk were re-elected with 11 votes.


Incumbents Marilyn Bitzan for clerk and Larry Carlson for supervisor were both re-elected with 17 votes.


Only 13 votes were cast in Moe Township, the fewest amount in recent memory, according to residents. Incumbents Todd Egenes (clerk) and Lynn Bushard (supervisor) were both re-elected and faced no challengers on the ballot.


No election. Elections take place in November of even-numbered years.


Jennifer Dietrich was re-elected to the clerk position with 13 votes. Incumbent Supervisor Bruce Massmann was returned to office with seven votes.


Incumbent Clerk/Treasurer Dawn McNeal was re-elected, as was incumbent Supervisor Brian Niehoff. They both received 10 votes.


Incumbent Clerk Jaclyn Halvorson was re-elected with 11 votes. Bruce Wohlforth won the two-year supervisor term with eight votes, and Supervisor Curt Hamen was re-elected with 10 votes.


Both incumbents were returned to office. Clerk Colleen Burquest received 20 votes and Supervisor Larry Skoglund received 16 votes.


Clerk Judi Andreasen was re-elected with nine votes and Supervisor William Frischmon, who was appointed last fall, was returned to office with nine votes. A question on the ballot about whether the clerk and treasurer positions should be appointed instead of elected was approved with eight “yes” votes and one “no” vote.    

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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