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Early voting is popular in Douglas County

The Douglas County Auditor's Office receives approximately 145 ballots per day on average. That average is expected to increase as Election Day approaches.

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DOUGLAS COUNTY — Early voting continues to be a popular option in Douglas County.

As of Friday, Oct. 28, the Douglas County Auditor’s Office had received 2,075 absentee/mail ballots, according to Vicki Doehling, election administrator.

That number is expected to increase.

“Most early voters that have already requested a ballot will cast their vote during the last couple weeks prior to the election, so we expect that number to rise steadily in the coming days,” Doehling said.

The county has already issued 3,894 absentee/mail ballots for the Nov. 8 general election.

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How does that compare to past years?

Four years ago, during the 2018 General Election, the county accepted 3,404 voted absentee ballots, according to Doehling.

“Our office receives approximately 145 ballots per day on average,” she said. “I expect that average to increase as we get closer to Election Day as the remaining 1,800-plus voters cast their absentee/mail ballot.”

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Vicki Doehling

When asked if there was anything Doehling would like to share with voters in this final week before the election, Doehling said she can’t stress enough the importance of reminding Election Day voters that redistricting of state and local voting districts took place in the spring of 2022 in relation to the 2020 census results.

“Please be aware that you may currently reside in different legislative, commissioner and city council districts than you did in the previous 10 years,” she said. “This is especially true for voters residing in the City of Alexandria as Wards 1 through 5 have undergone ward boundary changes.”

There is one contested race for Alexandria City Council. Nicole Mace and Ronald Sik are vying for the Ward 4 position. Other council positions that are up for election are Ward 1, where incumbent Bill Franzen is running unopposed, and Ward 2, where incumbent Roger Thalman faces no challengers.

To verify which precinct/ward you reside in and if your polling place location has changed, Doehling encouraged voters to use the Minnesota voter website mnvotes.gov to review their “Election Day Voting” information and sample ballot before election day.

Voters can also access that site by going to the Echo Press website and clicking on “ELECTION 2022” at the top of the site.

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A recap of the races

Other races include:

Alexandria School Board, Position 2 – Vern Engstrom vs. Alan Zeithamer.

Alexandria School Board, Position 3 – Lynne Lommen vs. Shawn Reilly.

Alexandria School Board, Position 4 – Laura Knudsen vs. Sandy Susag.

Douglas County Board, District 2 – Tim Kalina vs. Jim Stratton.

Douglas County Board, District 5 – Heather Larson vs. Shane Schmidt.

Alexandria City Council, Ward 4 – Nicole Mace vs. Ronald Sik.

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Minnesota Senate District 12 – Torrey Westrom vs. Kari Dorry vs. Ashley Klingbeil.

Minnesota Senate District 9 – Jordan Rasmusson vs. Cornel Walker.

Minnesota House District 12B – Mary Franson vs. Jeremy Vinar.

Minnesota House District 9B – Tom Murphy vs. Jason Satter.

Voters throughout Douglas County will have other decisions to make at the city, school and township level. Here’s a recap:

City of Brandon – three candidates filed for two council positions, Jesse Beaumia, Jordyn Bossert and Kevin Wade Challes.

City of Carlos – three candidates are running for mayor. They are Todd Burgess, Kelly Kees and Lyle Yochim. Also three people are running for two spots in a special council election. They are Ronna Berghoff, Diane Rounds and Ashley Wildman.

City of Evansville – Michael Hudson and Emmitt Messer are vying for a special election seat on the council.

City of Kensington – Brock Green, Jared Johnson and Joe Miles filed for two positions on the city council.

City of Miltona – Alan Bettermann and Brian Carpenter both filed for mayor. Also, five candidates are vying for two council seats, Kevin Lee, Joseph Leesch, Mickey Lint, David Ward and Pam Ward.

City of Osakis – Three candidates, Randy Anderson, Laura Backes and Stephanie Finnegan, filed for two city council seats that are up for election.

Osakis School Board – five candidates filed for three spots on the board. They are Fran Breiter, Greg Faber, Corey Goodwin, Jeffrey Kalpin and Jonathan Ries.

Minnewaska School Board – six people filed for three positions on the board and include Miriah Cassidy, Will Harvey, Zachery Lagred, Amanda Ogdahl, Ted Reichmann and Randall Sander. Also, two candidates filed for another position on the school board, Lisa Martin and Justin Zavadil.

West Central Area School Board – six candidates filed for three positions. They are Persephone England, Anthony Green, Michelle Nessman, Jared Olson, Dale Rau, Sara Strunk.

Parkers Prairie School Board – five people filed for four positions. They are Christy Hart, Shawn Hoemberg, Steven Inwards, Judith Moeller and Brad Ost.

Depending on where you live, there may also be questions on your ballot. Voters in Carlos Township, for example, will decide whether to allow the Carlos Township Board to charge property owners who violate state law for removing snow and ice left on or in the right-of-way of a township road if it’s deemed to be a maintenance or safety hazard.

As has been the case in past elections, some local positions will be decided by write-in votes because no one filed. This includes Forada city clerk/treasurer; Garfield mayor; Millerville mayor; and Brandon-Evansville School Board members at large, which drew two candidates, Jana Anderson and Stacy Beaumia, for three positions.

Candidates for several other local positions that are up for election are running unopposed on the ballot. This includes four incumbent elected officials for Douglas County – Auditor/Treasurer Vicki Doehling, Sheriff Troy Wolbersen, Attorney Chad Larson and Recorder Mary Skillings.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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