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Early voting turnout for primary is low in Douglas County

Three precincts in Douglas County are continuing with mail balloting rather than in-person voting.

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DOUGLAS COUNTY — Early voting for the Aug. 9 primary election began almost a month ago, on June 24.

In Douglas County, the absentee/mail balloting turnout has been low, according to Vicki Doehling, the election administrator for the county.

“As of end of day on Friday, July 15, only 0.66% of voters in Douglas County had cast either an absentee or mail ballot,” Doehling said.

Statewide, as of last week, about 20,000 people have voted using absentee ballots. That compares with 78,000 at this time in 2020, which saw a high turnout in part because it was a presidential year. The election also took pace at the height of COVID-19 restrictions.

Three precincts in Douglas County are continuing with mail balloting rather than in-person voting. The three precincts are Hudson Township, Moe Township and the city of Millerville.

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All registered voters in those precincts will receive a ballot by mail delivered to their residence address. Those who do not receive a ballot by mail must vote by absentee ballot, Doehling said.

The deadline for returning an absentee ballot to the Douglas County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office is 3 p.m. on election day, Aug. 9.

In Douglas County, there are two Alexandria School Board primaries and a Minnesota Senate primary:

  • Alexandria School Board, position 3 – Lynne Lommen, Joel Novak, Greg Odell and Shawn Reilly. (The long-time incumbent, Dr. Dean Anderson, decided not to file for re-election.)
  • Alexandria School Board, position 4 – incumbent Sandy Susag and challenger Laura Knudsen. (A third candidate, Dennis Conn, is on the ballot but he has withdrawn from the race.)
  • Minnesota Senate District 9, which includes part of Douglas County. Two Republicans filed – Jordan Rasmusson of Fergus Falls, who received the party's endorsement, and Nathan Miller of Battle Lake. The winner of the primary will appear on the ballot against DFL-endorsed Cornel Walker of Fergus Falls.

Other contested races that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot:

  • Alexandria School Board, position 2 – incumbent Alan Zeithamer vs. Vern Engstrom.
  • Alexandria City Council, Ward 4 – Nicole Mace vs. Ronald Sik. (The long-time council member for Ward 4, Dave Benson, decided not to file.)
  •  Douglas County Board, District 2 – incumbent Tim Kalina vs. former commissioner, James Stratton.
  • Douglas County Board, District 5 – incumbent Heather Larson vs. Shane Schmidt.
  • Senate District 12 – incumbent Republican Torrey Westrom vs. DFL challenger, Kari Dorry. A third party candidate, Ashley Klingbeil of Alexandria, also filed, listing her political party as “We the People.”
  • House District 12B – Republican incumbent Mary Franson vs. DFL challenger, Jeremy Vinar.
  • House District 9B – Republican Tom Murphy vs. DFLer, Jason Satter.

There are other races that will be on the primary ballot — U.S. Representative District 7, governor and lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general.

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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