Voter turnout high in area counties

Tammie Gotvald (back left) and Karen Mathison, election workers in the Mille Lacs County Auditor-Treasurer’s office, count absentee ballots in the early morning hours of Nov. 7, the day after the Nov. 6 election.

Voter turnout was high in Sherburne and Mille Lacs counties during last week’s general election.

Sherburne’s turnout of 46,708 voters was 82.2 percent of eligible voters if including the combined 48,691 registered voters prior to election day and the 8,125 new registered voters. In Mille Lacs the percent was 77.3 percent, when figuring that 13,179 votes were cast out of the 14,618 registered prior to election day and the 2,424 new registrants.

Although the turnout was high, those two counties had a higher percent turnout in the 2008 presidential election. During that year, 13,612 voted in Mille Lacs out of the 17,309 registered, for a 78 percent ratio. Sherburne had 45,104 voters in 2008, out of 46,443 registered, for 97.12 percent.


Write-in votes this


Mille Lacs had an unusually high number of write-in votes during this year’s election, the big factor being the school board races in Princeton. The two-year position had no filed candidates and the four-year position received a number of write-ins. There were 2,494 write-ins in the school board race. An ad had been taken out in the Town & Country prior to the election urging voters to not vote for filed candidate Chuck Nagle, and instead write in the name of Bob Lundell. The group that prepared and paid for the ad was called the ABC Committee. Despite the ad, Nagle won a seat on the school board.


Absentee ballots

Regarding absentee ballots, Mille Lacs had 926 such accepted ballot this year, which Mille Lacs County Auditor-Treasurer Phil Thompson considers high. Sherburne had 3,771 absentee ballots tallied, which Sherburne Auditor-Treasurer Diane Arnold also considered a high number.


Amendment proposals

While the two proposed state constitutional amendments were voted down in Minnesota, Mille Lacs, Sherburne and Isanti counties were among the many rural counties in the state that posted more yes than no votes for those questions. In both amendment proposals, if someone didn’t vote on the question, then it was tallied as a no vote.

On the marriage amendment proposal, if passed it would have recognized marriage as being between one man and one woman, Mille Lacs voted 8,004 yes, and 5,053 no. Sherburne voted 26,306 yes and 19,953 no, while Benton had 10,943 yes votes and 8,606 no votes, and Isanti tallied 12,391 yes votes and 7,742 no votes.

For the question on whether a photo ID should be required to vote, Mille Lacs voted 7,025 yes and 5,983 no; Sherburne voted 28,160 yes and 17,992 no; Isanti voted 11,819 yes and 8,243 no; and Benton voted 10,886 yes and 8,580 no.