Write-in campaign could stir things up Tuesday

Published 9:26 am Friday, October 29, 2010

With a write-in campaign launched last week for Albert Lea mayor, Albert Lea City Clerk Shirley Slater-Schulte and Freeborn County Auditor-Treasurer Dennis Distad are gearing up for a different type of race for this city seat.

During an interview Thursday, Slater-Schulte and Distad explained the process election judges follow for write-in candidates, along with some other tips voters should follow if they plan on writing in a candidate for the seat.

Listed on the ballot for Albert Lea mayor will be 1st Ward Councilor Vern Rasmussen and former Mayor Mike Murtaugh. Murtaugh resigned in September following the death of his wife, Geri.

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Slater-Schulte said under Rasmussen and Murtaugh’s names on the ballot there is a spot for people to write in a candidate, if they choose.

Classic rock disc jockey Ron Hunter has announced he is operating a write-in campaign for the seat.

If people choose to vote for Hunter or any other write-in candidate, Slater-Schulte emphasized that people must fill in the write-in oval plus clearly write the name of the person on the line next to it so it can be easily deciphered by an election judge.

On election night, all ballots will be manually checked to see if there’s a write-in candidate, though most of the time the ballot machine will kick ballots with a write-in candidate to a separate bin.

Two judges of two different political parties will count ballots, while two judges of two different parties watch.

Ballots will be divided by candidate, placed in piles of 25 and then counted.

Slater-Schulte said it is too soon to tell how long it will take to count the ballots. A lot of this depends on how many write-in candidates and votes there are; however, she and Distad anticipated the results should still come election night.

Distad stated if Hunter does not come close to any of the candidates on the ballot, his exact number of votes may not be reported, as it is not required. He said Hunter has not filed the paperwork necessary to request his total votes.