With balmy temperatures and a brief afternoon shower, voters were not deterred - even when a thunderstorm hit at 5:30 p.m.
By 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Whittier school more than half the registered voters had already cast their ballots. Voters were steady but there was no waiting at 3:30 p.m. The Kids Voting booths also were busy.
Doris Sievek, head voting judge, said more than 50 people had already registered at the polls. Election judges were bemused by the clock in the gym at Whittier that said 7:45 p.m. Sievek said if that clock was right, they'd almost be done already. No such luck for the judges who were up before dawn getting polls ready. - Staff Writer Renee Richardson.
A brisk turnout
Deborah Erickson, Crow Wing County auditor, said voter turnout was brisky.
She said there were lines of people waiting to vote as the polls opened Tuesday. The biggest rush early was between 7-8 a.m.
"It's been pretty busy," Erickson said.
Don Hendrickson walked in the rain after voting at Riverside Elementary School Tuesday night in Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
She reported no glitches or problems of any kind through the morning polling hours.
"It's just been a really good turnout," Erickson said. - City Editor Kathi Nagorski.
No lunch lines
It was smooth sailing at Brainerd polling precincts over the noon hour.
There was no significant waiting at Lowell School, Riverside School, St. Andrew's Catholic Church, Trinity Lutheran Church or Whittier School.
At 12:15 p.m. at Whittier, a total of 304 people had voted. The precinct had 39 new registered voters through the first five hours of voting.
"We had people waiting at 6:30 this morning," said Mary Dwyer, Whittier election judge. "It was busy the first 45 minutes."
A few minutes later at Lowell, a total of 302 people had voted, including 56 new registered voters. - City Editor Kathi Nagorski.
First 100 in Nisswa
A Nisswa resident was the 92nd voter shortly before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at Nisswa City Hall.
In the first 30 minutes of voting, 10 new voters registered in Nisswa. Election judges were making their predictions about the total number of new voters who would register during the day. - City Editor Kathi Nagorski.
By 11 a.m. Tuesday, about 450 had voted in Pequot Lakes. According to an election judge, action had been brisk since the doors opened at 7 a.m. There were no lines at about 11 a.m., but all of the voting booths were occupied. - Outdoors Editor Brian S. Peterson
Voting in Brainerd
By 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, 144 people had voted at the Church of the Latter-day Saints in south Brainerd. Judges said 100 voted in the first hour. There were no lines at 8:30 a.m., much to the relief of two elderly women who indicated as they walked from the parking lot to the church they were worried that they might have to stand in line. - Editor Roy Miller.
Canceling each other out at the polls
Many of the 8:30 a.m. Tuesday breakfast customers at the Barn in Brainerd arrived wearing red and white "I Voted" stickers. Conversation that accompanied the coffee there included talk of Hillary Clinton, Joe the Plumber and more than one incident of husbands and wives canceling out each other's votes at the polls. - Associate Editor Mike O'Rourke.
Students get a taste of judging
Fifteen Brainerd High School American government class students of Kathy Hegstrom were scheduled to be election judge trainees in Brainerd and Baxter on Election Day.
Hegstrom said the students from her class received instruction from Crow Wing County Auditor Deborah Erickson in two separate sessions at the high school. The students were to receive excused absences to work at the polls from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
In addition about 20 students were to help with the Kids Voting project from 3:30 to 8 p.m. Election Day, Hegstrom said. - Associate Editor Mike O'Rourke.
Former U.S. Rep. Nolan stumped with Franken in campaign swing
Rick Nolan, a former three-term U.S. representative from the Sixth District, campaigned with Democrat Al Franken in the final days of that campaign. He said he served as a spokesman for Sen. Barack Obama's get out the vote campaign.
Nolan lives in rural Crosslake and attended Washington High School in Brainerd. He was elected to the U.S. House in 1974 and stepped down after the 1980 election.
Among the cities he stumped in were Hibbing, Virginia, Gilbert, Duluth, Minneapolis, Northfield and Rochester.
Nolan said he was bumped from his duties of introducing Franken on two occasions - on Saturday night when former President Bill Clinton did the honors and on Monday night's rally in Duluth where he was to be replaced by Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. - Associate Editor Mike O'Rourke.
Only one can be first
Forty people wanted to be the first to vote Tuesday morning at Crow Wing Township Hall, said Election Judge Ed Damrau. He said people were lined up out the door early in the morning. It was not my goal to be the first to vote. I was the 122nd voter at 8:27 a.m. Head Judge Ginny Rogers said there are more than 1,100 registered voters in Crow Wing Township, including those who registered Tuesday. - Staff Writer Jennifer Stockinger.
Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson was running unopposed for re-election this year, which he takes to mean one of two things - either people are happy with the job he's done or the people have given up on him, he joked. "It was a welcome relief to see I wasn't challenged. I was surprised," Olson said Tuesday afternoon. On a serious note, Olson said not having to campaign has allowed him more time to be with his family following recent deaths of his father and father-in-law. - Staff Writer Matt Erickson.
Not Brainerd, not Baxter ...
Garrison city was the first precinct reporting in at the Crow Wing County Courthouse with a 76 percent voter turnout. Despite the distance to the courthouse, the Garrison city election judges were first in the door at the courthouse, ahead of precincts closer to Brainerd. - Senior Writer Renee Richardson.
For Baxter council
In a Baxter precinct, one of the write-ins for Baxter council was for "anybody else." Other write-ins were for Todd Dahl, Crow Wing County sheriff, and Wayne Durant, an at-large candidate for Brainerd City Council. - Senior Writer Renee Richardson.
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