Reporter's Notebook: Super Tuesday election coverage
A roundup of Super Tuesday action as voters went to the polls for the presidential primary plus interactive infographic with voting results.
Steady but slow
Election judges in Baxter said during Tuesday afternoon voter turnout was fairly low, as they expected, but there was still a somewhat steady stream of voters coming to the polls.
By about 12:15 p.m., 64 voters cast ballots at Baxter City Hall. About 128 showed up to Lord of Life Church by 12:45 p.m., and 56 voters made their way to Lakewood Church just before 1 p.m. — Theresa Bourke
Thoughts from judges
Election judges at Lord of Life Church in Baxter were pleasantly surprised to see a few young voters cast ballots in the presidential primary.
Judge Daniel Rudnitski noted updates in technology as he looked around at the electronic vote counter, he recalled a time about 25 years ago when he was an election judge elsewhere, and voters dropped their paper ballots into a cardboard box.
The hardest part of being a judge, he said, is making sure all the counts from each judge’s table and from the ballot machine line up.
“And you’ve got procedures. You’ve got to put things in the right boxes, etc., etc.,” he said. “It’s a complicated thing.”
Despite the challenges, he said it’s the camaraderie with friendly voters who walk in the door that keeps him coming back as an election judge. — Theresa Bourke
Lake Edward Township had two voters before noon who left without voting because they didn’t want to specify their political party. Voters have to state their party preference to the election judge when they sign the voter oath, reaffirming they adhere to the major principles of that party. — Jennifer Kraus
Election judges in Lake Edward and Crow Wing townships both said the stream of voters coming to the polls was slow, but steady during the morning hours Tuesday. Judges expected a higher turnout during and after the supper hour. Lake Edward had 114 voters as of 12:15 p.m. and Crow Wing had 58 voters as of 1 p.m. — Jennifer Kraus
Famous potato salad
At Crow Wing Power, where voters residing in the Red Precinct cast their ballots, election judges raved about fellow judge Helen Burgstaler’s famous potato salad.
They’d already had some for lunch about noon Tuesday, and planned to dig into it again later during the long hours of staffing the polls. What’s Burgstaler’s secret? “Miracle Whip,” she said. — Chelsey Perkins
Say it ain’t so, Amy
Karen Kirt, a resident of Unorganized Territory who lives on Round Lake, showed up to vote for President Donald Trump in the Republican primary, even though he was the only option on the GOP ballot.
But she also expressed remorse for the decision by Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar to drop out of the presidential race Monday.
“I was sorry about our Minnesota dropout,” Kirt said. “I liked her a lot. Still do.” — Chelsey Perkins
Race dropouts leave decisions to make
Sher and Terry Klein, who live between Gull and Round lakes, said they’ve struggled over who to support as their favorite for the Democratic nomination. Standing in the hallway at Crow Wing Power, the Red Precinct polling place, Sher Klein said she would’ve rather voted for either Amy Klobuchar or Pete Buttigieg, but both of those candidates dropped out of the race before Super Tuesday. Instead, both decided to vote for Biden.
“The thing that I wasn't choosing to initially vote for him for was because of the fact that I felt our country's changing so much,” Sher Klein said. “I felt like we maybe needed to get some younger people in there that had brought some new thought to the table because, you know, it’s younger people that are going to be taking care of our world.” — Chelsey Perkins
Decades of service
Lake Edward Township Clerk Martha Look has served as the township clerk and head judge since she began the township post in 1974. Look said it was a difficult decision to make but she plans to hand over the reins to others as she has decided to retire. She helped as an election judge Tuesday. — Jennifer Kraus
Fulfilling a goal
Lisa Foote happily greeted voters at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter, fulfilling a longtime goal of being an election judge. Ever since the first time she voted and noticed the election judges, she said it was her goal to become one.
“I feel like I’m part of the process,” she said. — Theresa Bourke
When asked if he had a problem stating his political preference before voting, Bob Jones, a Crow Wing Township voter, said, “No, I went to the party last night and had a great time.” — Jennifer Kraus
When asked about the desire to serve as an election judge, Erica Jones at The Church on Wise Road in Unorganized Territory had a unique answer.
“I like setting things up and doing paperwork and stuff. I’m weird,” she said, noting she even likes having to problem-solve when error messages pop up on the registration tablets.
“I like everything about it,” Jones said. — Theresa Bourke
Multiple precincts in Brainerd noted they experienced a shortage of volunteers, which pressed two first-time volunteers into the role of head election judge: Doug Hansen of Ward 1 Precinct 2 and Amy Burke of Ward 3 Precinct 2/Ward 3 Precinct 3.
Burke, among other judges, urged area residents — particularly younger people — to consider volunteering to ensure a vital part of American democracy thrives and is protected. Volunteers and judges work to set up and pack up polling places, ensure election rules are followed, provide assistance to voters, answer election-related questions and certify results. — Gabriel Lagarde
Police scanner activity
Just before the polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, the police scanner reported a male in a truck had a sign stating “Democrats Vote Tomorrow” at Crow Wing Town Hall. The dispatcher said a deputy needed to respond as it was inappropriate. — Jennifer Kraus