Elections are not merely the outcome of winners and losers. Free, fair and open elections are at the heart of our democracy. Otter Tail County extends appreciation to those involved in this year’s election process. We are fortunate to live in a country that ensures a fair and transparent election process.
Thank you, voters. Minnesota consistently leads the nation in voter turnout. This year in Otter Tail County 76 percent of eligible voters exercised their right to vote, which surpassed the 2014 midterm elections. Voting through the absentee process was significantly higher in 2018, with 4,369 voters participating compared to 2,352 absentee voters in 2014. The voice of the people is the foundation of county government.
Thank you, election judges. Many residents step forward each election to serve at precinct polling locations and participate in training. This year in Otter Tail County many elections judges were trained to use the new poll pad technology installed to increase efficiency and shorten wait times at the polls. Perhaps you will be inspired to be an election judge for the next election.
Thank you, township, city and county officials. Election season is year-round for election officials. Lynne Olson, Fergus Falls’ city election administrator describes the many roles she and her counterparts perform prior to election day. Election officials must recruit election judges, secure polling places, set up and tear down voting sites and facilitate the day to day functions of the polling places. In 2018, the city of Fergus Falls recruited 102 election judges for 9 precincts.
Did you know election judges take voting to health-care facilities county wide? Judges set up polling stations in health-care facilities such as the Minnesota Veteran’s Home, so residents can vote in-house. Vi Manderud, elections administrative specialist, facilitates this outreach for Otter Tail County.
The Otter Tail County Auditor’s Office serves 92 precincts with polling places located in city, school and township facilities. The County Auditor, Wayne Stein, is the “chief registrar of voters” and the “custodian” of election records. The work involved in ensuring successful elections is on-going throughout the year. The County Auditor’s office leads a team of dedicated people that work long hours to protect the integrity of elections.
Lynne Olson, who has served in 10 elections, commented, “Wayne Stein is amazing. We couldn’t ask for someone more professional. He takes time to answer all questions, no matter how small or complex they might be, and he handles each situation calmly and knowledgeably. Otter Tail County is truly blessed to have Wayne serving in this role.”
Thank you, candidates. Running for public office is a noble cause. Roger Froemming, county commissioner, who recently passed away, served in public office for over 40 years. His devoted service is a testament to the commitment and sacrifice it takes to run for public office. We congratulate those who were elected and thank those who were willing to participate in campaigns to serve the public.
Please visit https://ottertailcountymn.us/department/elections/ for Otter Tail County election information.