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Auditor’s office busy handling absentee ballots

By Staff | Oct 6, 2008

With less than a month before the Nov. 4 general election, employees at the Faribault County Auditor’s Office are busy preparing.

In addition to their other duties — Liz Boettcher, Alice LaMont and Trish Gjere have been processing applications for absentee ballots.

Boettcher says requests to vote absentee began in February.

As in the past, she says the presidential race often motivates more people to go to the polls.

“It seems like there is a lot more interest this time, especially among the younger voters,” says Boettcher.

Added to that, elections for a U.S. senator and congressman, two state representative seats, city council and school board all point to a good voter turnout in the county.

As of Monday, 175 names had been entered into a statewide election system.

Four years ago, about 650 people in Faribault County voted by absentee ballot.

Boettcher says that number could be more this time around.

“By the end of the week we’ll have at least 200 names entered into the system,” she says.

County officials estimate about 45 hours a week are spent processing requests.

“In the next week I’d say 50 to 60 percent of their time will be spent on absentee ballots,” says County Auditor John Thompson.

Of the 600-plus not going to the polls on election day, about half will vote at the local auditor’s office.

Boettcher says ballots have arrived and anyone wishing to vote at the counter may do so or have them mailed out.

Absentee ballot applications will be accepted up until 5 p.m. Nov. 3, but to ensure one’s vote is counted it must be received in the auditor’s office by 2 p.m. election day.

“I’d say 99 percent mailed out are returned. Especially during a general election,” says Boettcher.

If anyone wishes to vote by absentee ballot there are only five reasons, set by state election law, that will allow you to:

• absence from the precinct;

• illness or disability;

• religious discipline or observance of religious holiday;

• service as election judge in another precinct;

• eligible emergency declared by the governor or quarantine declared by federal or state government.