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Now elected, but will they serve?

By Staff | Nov 15, 2008

While Minnesotans wait to see who their next U.S. senator will be, Kiester Township residents also are in a “wait-and-see” mode.

Tuesday night township officials certified Nov. 4 general election results, but two winners haven’t yet decided if they’ll take the oath of office.

Jeff Passer received the most write-in votes among 17 vying for a four-year township supervisor position.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I still have some time to think about it,” he says.

Passer had eight votes, while 16 other candidates totaled 29.

Longtime clerk Steve Bidne also garnered the most write-in votes.

After serving for nearly 23 years, he decided not to refile and give someone else a chance to do the job.

“I kind of figured this might happen. It’s happened before, so it didn’t surprise me,” he adds.

Because neither candidate actively campaigned for the respective office, Bidne wasn’t sure if campaign financial reporting laws needed to be followed.

On Monday and Tuesday, Bidne was busy contacting election officials to see what steps needed to be taken.

First it was a call to the Faribault County Auditor’s Office, then the Secretary of State’s.

“I just want to make sure I’m following the correct procedure. But, I wasn’t getting much help,” he says.

Finally, officials of the Minnesota Association of Townships was able to shed some light.

What he did learn was a letter of election certification can not be mailed to winning candidates until Nov. 18 — seven days after the votes have been certified.

That gives people an opportunity to contest the results or request a recount.

Of the 32 votes cast for clerk, Bidne collected 25 and seven other candidates each got one.

The clerk’s term also is for four years and Bidne — like Passer — has not decided what he’s going to do.

“I guess I’ll wait to decide until after I get the letter I mailed to myself,” he says.

Bidne says if he and Passer decide not to serve, the two current supervisors will have to appoint someone before Jan. 5, when the oath of office is given.

Meanwhile, a write-in winner for a four-year seat on the Delavan City Council has indicated he wants to remain a councilman.

Butch Ottesen says he intended to file for re-election but he was in Montana and missed the deadline.

“I didn’t even realize my term was up. It completely slipped my mind,” he says, adding he was appointed in 2006.

Ottesen says when he returned to Minnesota, residents asked him if they could write his name on the ballot.

“If people wanted to write my name in, ‘Why not?’ I’d serve, if they want me to,” he says. “It was a word-of-mouth campaign.”

When all the votes were tallied, Ottesen finished with 41 and five others had one each.