The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 6, 2012

Voter turnout high in Mankato (slideshow)

By Joe Spear
Free Press Editor

MANKATO — Blue Earth County voters do not appear to have lost their enthusiasm for voting compared to four years ago when there was a near record turnout.

Blue Earth County elections director Patty O'Connor reported about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday that many precincts were very busy with same-day registration and voting office staff are keeping busy supplying precincts with supplies.

St. John The Baptist Church was one site particularly busy with same-day registrations, said O'Connor. At one point, a voter complained that people were just walking up and getting ballots to vote without signing.

O'Connor said that she checked with her staff at that site and did not believe unsigned people were voting. She said if some voters did not get a receipt before voting, which can happen, it will be shown at the end of the night and officials will have to count the signatures against the vote totals.

She likened the turnout to 2008 and to the year Jesse Ventura won the governorship, 1998. There was a lot of same-day registration that year as well.

Because the elections staff has been kept busy with the heavy turnout and same-day registration, it could take longer to get the results.

Turnout around the region was mixed.Free Press Facebook fans offered some of their insights after a Free Press query.

Gary Zimmerli voted at 7 a.m  Tuesday at the Blu e Earth County Highway Department building hoping it would be its usual quiet polling place. "The parking lot was full, polling station jamed. Never seen it so busy!," he wrote.

Janene Kalina voted at the Taylor Center about 1:15 p.m. and reports she was in and out in 10 minutes.

Nicole Sowers voted at the New Ulm Clinic and said election officials reported there were more same-day registrations and many folks had to be sent to other polling places because locations had changed.

Taylor Fast voted at the Wiecking Center at MSU at about 12:15 p.m. and had to wait about 40 minutes. "Nearly everyone in line wasn't pre-registered."

In small towns such as Eagle Lake, Courtland and Elysian, there was virtually no waiting.

Colleen Cutshall Voss voted with her daughter about 9:30 a.m. at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Mankato with no wait.

Her daughter was given a standing ovation by everyone working there when she said it was the first time she voted.

Wrote Voss: "What a great first impression that made on her."