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Primary election in August? Will anyone care enough to vote?

By Staff | Aug 2, 2010

More than one person has expressed surprise that there is an election next Tuesday.

That’s correct. The state’s primary election is next Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Primary elections have traditionally been held in September during election years, but this has been changed.

I guess it all has to do with creating enough time between the primary and the general election – set for Nov. 2.

Having a primary election in mid-September, and the general election the first part of November, didn’t leave enough time for ballots to be created and absentee voting to occur. Especially affected was the overseas military personnel being able to get the ballots, vote, and return them.

Or so we have been told.

It will be interesting to see how the voting goes on Aug. 10.

Primary elections have already been notorious for low turnouts in many areas. Changing the date to a month earlier might significantly decrease an already historically low voter interest.

Primary elections come into play when a number of persons file to run for one office. The goal is to get the number of candidates to two. Or sometimes one.

In the case of state races, the goal is to reduce the number of candidates from a single party to one.

So, voters next Tuesday may vote for their choice for who be the political party candidate for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general.

There is a key instruction to voting on this ballot, however, and many voters fail to vote correctly.

One must only vote for candidates in a single party – all the way down the ballot.

In other words, a voter may not choose which DFL candidate they want for governor, then hop over and decide which Republican candidate should be selected to run for attorney general.

Once you start selecting candidates from one party, you must stay with that party.

Of course, you never have to declare which party you are voting for, so sometimes voters decide which is the most interesting race.

This year, I think that has to be the Democrat contest for governor.

Margaret Anderson Kelliher is the DFL-endorsed candidate, but Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza are on the ballot and it has become quite a contest.

Locally, in Faribault County, there are only two races which will be on the primary election ballot – and some folks will see only one of those.

Every voter in the county will see the three candidates running for the County Recorder’s position.

They are Eva Adams, Sheryl “Sherry” Asmus and Ken Skaare.

The two persons who receive the most votes will have their names on the general election ballot in November. The third person will be out.

Voters who go to the primary election polling places in District 2 of Faribault County will also see the names of four people who want to be county commissioner.

But, only the voters in District 2 – which encompasses the townships of Verona, Jo Daviess, Pilot Grove and Wards 1 and 2 in Blue Earth city – will be voting for commissioner candidates.

The four are Mike Mensing, Milton Steele, Al Travis Thielfoldt and Greg Young.

Once again, only the top two vote-getters of the four will advance to face-off in the November election.

There are, of course, plenty of other county races. There is another commissioner race between Tom Loveall and Rob Nelson, and contests for county attorney and county sheriff.

But, those races already have just two candidates, so they will not be appearing on Tuesday’s ballot.

Confused? I hope not.

For those who have voted in primary elections in the past, only the early date is different from other years. First time voters sometimes wonder why there are so few choices on the ballot.

There is another early election issue in place this week.

Filings for local city and school board open positions begin this Tuesday, Aug. 3, and run through Tuesday, Aug. 17.

There are many offices open and up for election, so I urge anyone interested in running to pay attention to the filing deadline.

And, in these cases, however many folks file for an open seat, all of the names will appear on the November general election ballot.

I guess there isn’t a need to trim them down to just two.

Go figure.