With all the primary ballots now counted, the results of the Alexandria mayor race remain the same: Bobbie Osterberg and Todd Jensen will move on to the general election this November.
Tallying up the votes took longer this primary because mail and absentee ballots that were postmarked on Aug. 10 and 11 were not tabulated until Wednesday and Thursday.
The final results, which still have to be officially approved by the city’s canvassing board are: Osterberg – 751 (31 additional votes), Jensen – 694 (9 additional votes), Shannon Berns – 348 (21 additional votes) and Aaron Schultz – 59 (1 additional vote).
The names of Osterberg and Jensen will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Douglas County Elections Administrator Vicki Doehling provided interesting voter turnout information for the primary:
Voter turnout was 26.4 percent. A total of 6,717 of the county’s 25,434 registered voters turned in ballots.
Absentee and mail-in ballots increased dramatically, accounting for nearly 64 percent of the total or 4,272 votes. That’s nearly eight times as many votes as the 539 absentee ballots that were cast two years ago.
The precinct with the highest turnout was Ida Township, one of the 10 precincts that allowed mail voting this election because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of its 995 registered voters, 402 voted, a turnout of 40.4 percent.
The city of Nelson had the lowest turnout at 12.6 percent. Just 13 of its 103 registered voters cast ballots. Nelson was also the first precinct to report returns, arriving at the Douglas County Auditor’s Office at 8:35 p.m.
A total of 103 new voters registered for the primary.
A closer look at absentee, mail ballots
According to Doehling, there were 92 absentee and mail ballots marked as spoiled or lost. In those instances, most voters lost or threw away their ballot. If that was the case, their original mailed ballot was marked spoiled and a replacement ballot was issued.
Another 24 of the mail/absentee ballots were rejected. Voters are given notice that their ballot was rejected and the reason why it was rejected, and given the opportunity to either cast a replacement ballot or vote in person at the polls, Doehling said.
Here's the breakdown of the 24 rejected ballots: 12 voters successfully cast their replacement ballot; five voters received a replacement ballot but did not cast a ballot in the election; and seven voters did not receive a replacement ballot because the original ballot was received or postmarked on election day.
"Even if their ballot arrived on Election Day, we make an effort to contact the voter to inform them their absentee/mail ballot was rejected so they still have opportunity to go to the polls and vote," Doehling said.