Voter turnout tops 87 percent in county

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Freeborn County’s 87.66 percent voter turnout was higher than election officials expected &045; among the highest for a non-presidential election.

In some polling places, voters needed to stay in line even after 8 p.m., and waits of more than an hour were reported at times.

The county’s turnout rate put it among the top five out of the state’s 87 counties.

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County Auditor Dennis Distad attributed the high voter turnout to the fierce competition, especially for local offices.

&uot;We had awfully good candidates for both the city and county,&uot; Distad said. &uot;This was also the first time in a long time that the incumbent has not run for sheriff. That could be another factor.&uot;

The sudden change on the ballot because of U.S. Senate Paul Wellstone’s death did not trigger visible confusion in the vote. Though the separate ballot for the senate election needed to be counted by hand in each precinct, the whole process went off without any significant delay.

Distad said, &uot;I take my hat off to election judges in the county. They were super.&uot;