By Mark Fischenich
Free Press Staff Writer
— Residents of Nicollet County, along with a few thousand in select Mankato neighborhoods and in the Kasota area, will have a chance to pick the newest member of the Minnesota House of Representatives in a special election today.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and polling places are identical to the general election last November. Unlike Nov. 6, there’s just one race on the ballot — the House District 19A seat left vacant by former Rep. Terry Morrow of St. Peter, who resigned his legislative office last month.
It’s a three-way contest with Independence Party nominee Tim Gieseke of rural Nicollet, Democrat Clark Johnson of North Mankato and Republican Allen Quist of rural St. Peter. The winner, along with the victor in a second special election also being held today for a St. Cloud-area seat, will join 132 other representatives already five weeks into the 2013 legislative session.
Eligible voters in the district who voted in the Nov. 6 election and who haven’t changed addresses should be all set to vote today.
Newer residents of the district and newly eligible voters may have to register at their polling place before voting. Details on election-day registration are on the Minnesota secretary of state’s website at mnvotes.org.
District 19A is made up of Nicollet County in its entirety, including the district’s biggest cities of North Mankato and St. Peter. The city of Kasota and Lime Township are also entirely within the district.
Other parts are more complicated. If you live in the part of Kasota Township west of Highway 22, you’re in the district. You’re also in if you live in the portion of Mankato Township north of Highway 14.
If you live within the Mankato city limits north of Highway 14 (including the new neighborhoods north and northeast of the Menards/Home Depot area) or you live west or north of Riverfront Drive (the residential areas off of Third Avenue and the Sibley Park neighborhood), you can vote today.
Finally, the judicial redistricting committee that redrew the political boundaries statewide last year got really creative in adding the last few hundred residents to House District 19A. You’re in the district if you live in the portion of West Mankato north of Blue Earth Street but east of Carney Ave. And you’re in if you reside north of Pleasant Street but west of Record Street, or if you live on the north side of South Front Street (even-numbered addresses) between Record and Liberty.
Got it? If not, you can plug your address into the “Polling Place Finder” at mnvotes.org or call the Blue Earth County Elections office with your address.
Or you can recollect where you voted on Nov. 6. If you voted at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on North Broad Street or at the Pathstone Living facility on Mound Avenue, you’re in the district and can vote in today’s election.