Turnout at 41 percent countywide; new counters help election process

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Election officials Tuesday confirmed the positive effect of a decentralized vote-counting system that was installed this year.

The final results for the townships and small cities came out around 10:30 p.m. According to Auditor/Treasurer Dennis Distad, it took almost two hours less than prior elections.

Using a state grant accompanied with local matching funds, the county furnished counters for 29 of the county’s 40 precincts. Previously, there were only seven precinct counters, which imposed a tremendous burden on the headquarters at the courthouse for counting.

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Turnout for the election was at around 46.5 percent for the city and 41.3 percent for the county. Countywide, 7,525 people voted out of 18,236 registered voters; in the city of Albert Lea, 4,655 voted out of 10,803 registered voters.

The precinct counter tallies the votes in a precinct, and separates ballots with write-in votes from the rest, making it easier for election officials to total the votes.

More importantly, the system is also expected to reduce discarded ballots, where voters made a mistake.