Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Traci LeBrun and Shawn Jansen
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Primary numbers in Pine County


August 30, 2018

Voter turnout in Pine County was slightly down from the last major primary in 2014. In the 2014 primary, Pine County had a showing of approximately 3,990 voters as compared to an approximate 3,750 voters in this August’s primary according to the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

This year’s primary election narrowed down the names for the upcoming general election to be held on November 6. On the ballot in November, for U.S. Representative District 8, will be Pete Stauber (R) and Joe Radinovich (D). Pete Stauber (R) took in 1,595 of the Pine County votes, and Joe Radinovich took in 836 of the county’s votes.

The U.S. Senator race will include Jim Newberger (R), who earned 1,199 of Pine County’s votes, and Amy Klobuchar (D), who earned 1,914 of the county’s votes.

For the U.S. Senator special election to fill Al Franken’s vacated seat, Karin Housley (R) and Tina Smith (D) will be on the general election ballot. Housley earned 1,131 votes in Pine County, and Tina Smith earned 1,513 of the county’s votes.

The Minnesota Governor and Lt. Governor race will have Republicans Jeff Johnson and Donna Bergstrom on the ballot and Democrats Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan. Johnson and Bergstrom earned 1106 votes in the county, and Walz and Flanagan earned 665 votes in Pine County. Not surprisingly, Lori Swanson and Rick Nolan were Pine County’s favorites among the Democrats with 926 votes.

For Attorney General, on the Republican side, Doug Wardlow earned 821 votes in the county and on the DFL side, Keith Ellison earned 872 votes. They will both be on the ballot for the general election.

Approximately 2,000 Democrats came out to vote in Pine County, versus 1,740 Republicans.

Who filed for office

Mayor Elizabeth Cisar will run against Todd Danelski for mayor of Sturgeon Lake. Voters will select two council members from a field of five: Russell Correira (incumbent), Barbara "Barb" Howell, Diana Jacobson (incumbent), Adam Langhorst, and Rick Lewis. Marsha Helfman is running unopposed in a special election for a council seat.

Willow River Mayor Brent Switzer and council members Sheldon Johnson and Vickie Whitehouse are all running unopposed for re-relection.

Kerrick resident Daniel Adams Sr. filed for the special election for mayor, while two are running for two are running for two council seats, Shirley Keyport and Paul Stadin. Jennie Adams will run for special election for Kerrick city clerk, and Mary VonRueden will run for city treasurer.

Bruno Mayor Denny Molgaard is running unopposed as are Brandon Bade and Douglas Blechinger for two city council seats.

No one filed for mayor or either of two council seats in Denham.

Running unopposed in Sturgeon Lake Township are Dale Alberg for seat 2, Edward Magdiarz for seat 3 and Denise Skog for town treasurer.

Willow River residents will elect three school board members from a field of five: Molly Balut, Gerard Bennett (incumbent), Bruce Bohaty (incumbent), David Prachar (incumbent) and Mark Uszenski.

Hospital Districts

Kelly Goeb filed to continue serving as a Moose Lake Community Hospital District board member for Windemere Township. Joanne Collier is running for a member-at-large seat from the Moose Lake community. No one filed for the other at-large seat for Moose Lake.

Filing for seats on the North Pine Area Hospital District Board are Jane Brown, member-at-large for the north Pine area; no on filed for Askov; Edith Dode Molgaard for Bruno; Brenda Langseth-Perrault for Dell Grove Township; Gary Klein for Hinckley Townshio; Frances Levings for New Dosey Township; Raymond Thieling for Ogema Township; Myrna Nelson for Partridge Township; William L. Olson for Pine Lake Township; and Christ Ketchmark for Willow River. In special elections for board members, Dennis Liebelt filed for Finlayson. No one filed on behalf of either Danforth or Sandstone townships.

Voting protocol to ensure

security of votes

Pine County Auditor/Treasurer Cathy Clemmer said Minnesota is one of the states that provides extra security measures to ensure against voter fraud.

“The information that the voter puts on the ballot is the voter’s choice and not someone from Russia [for example],” says Clemmer. By this she means that when the ballot cards are put into the system at the individual precincts, there is no connection to the internet, thus making it unable to be hacked.

Minnesota is one of the 18 states that uses paper ballot exclusively (when voters mark their votes by filling in an oval, box or similar shape on a paper ballot which is later scanned either at the polling place or at a central location) for counting ballots versus using a DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) system which employs a computer to record votes directly into the computer’s memory.

She explained the process, saying that votes are entered into the counting machine (M100) which is not connected to the Internet. And the M100 is tested and retested for accuracy before the primary or general election.

On election night, the ballots are sealed into envelopes which are signed across the seal by the election judges present at each of the precincts. Those sealed envelopes, containing the paper ballots, are brought (along with the program card from the M100) to the Pine County Courthouse by two judges, one from each political party. The sealed envelopes containing the paper ballots are then held in a secure area where they will stay for 22 months unless there is a recount or court challenge.

The votes are then tabulated by the M100 and put onto a “program card” that is uploaded into an encrypted and secured system at the courthouse onto the Minnesota Secretary of State website. Absentee votes are all counted at the courthouse and displayed on the Secretary of State website the same time as the precinct totals.

“We have a double layer of passwords and security codes instituted this year because of cyber threats in other states,” says Clemmer. “When you hear of tampering in other states, they are purely electronic [voting systems].”

As a measure of extra security, to ensure the votes tabulated on the M100 match the paper ballots, two precincts are randomly chosen at the General Election canvassing board meeting to be hand counted, comparing results on the program card that comes from the M100 machine to the paper ballots. Clemmer said that if they’re off one-half of one percent, or greater than two votes in a precinct where 400 or fewer voters cast ballots, then more precincts are sampled. “For each of the Post Election Reviews we have conducted, we have been 100 percent right on,” she added.

“On election night, if there is any issue, or if during recounts or challenges, Minnesota always has the paper ballots to fall back on,” added Clemmer.


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