Changes abound at primary polling places

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Mark Utzinger and Juanita Larson look up registered voters as they arrive at the Nisswa polling place. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Election judges in Nisswa and Breezy Point on Tuesday, Aug. 11 - primary election day - noted changes in this year's election proceedings that didn't include COVID-19 precautions.

For one, judges noted that the electronic system for verifying voters was easier to use than old, physical books, and more secure because only one voter's information was on the screen at a time.

In addition, judges in Breezy Point noted that voters needed more detailed instructions, as more ballots than usual had been rejected for being filled out incorrectly. Otherwise, Nisswa and Breezy Point had a slow trickle of voters during the day.

While visiting the polls, Crow Wing County Administrative Services Director Deborah Erickson said the county had received quite a few absentee ballots, and therefore might not see as many voters at physical polling sites this year.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said in a news release that 24% of ballots cast in 2018 were absentee ballots, and that number is expected to be larger this year. Simon said the processing, storing and tabulation of these ballots will present a challenge for counties and asked citizens to be patient in awaiting election results.


"We have all gotten used to knowing the results of these elections at 10 p.m. on Election Night, sometimes the morning after," Simon said. "It's going to be different this year. It might take a few days, or up to a week until ballots are all in and counted."

As they become available, find full election results at by clicking on the yellow "E-PAPER" button at the top right of the homepage.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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