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Reporter's Notebook: Tidbits from election night

A mix of items from coverage of the Brainerd School District referendum Tuesday, April 10. No waiting Riverside Elementary polling site reported a quiet day until late afternoon when more voters were arriving. After 4 p.m. the voter count was 226...

Voters at Nisswa City Hall for the Brainerd School Distrist 181 referendum Tuesday. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
Voters at Nisswa City Hall for the Brainerd School Distrist 181 referendum Tuesday. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

A mix of items from coverage of the Brainerd School District referendum Tuesday, April 10.

No waiting

Riverside Elementary polling site reported a quiet day until late afternoon when more voters were arriving. After 4 p.m. the voter count was 226 with more voters coming in the door. Time needed to devote to voting: About 10 minutes with parking included. -Renee Richardson.

'Prove me wrong'

John Fitzpatrick, election judge at Lowell Elementary School, in the early afternoon predicted a turnout of roughly 20 percent of registered voters-but he urged voters to "prove him wrong." Fitzpatrick has quite a bit of experience backing his prognostication, having served as an election judge multiple times over the course of 50 years.

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Voter turnout across the school district topped out at 37.5 percent.-Chelsey Perkins

Stars and stripes

At Baxter's Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Rev. Steven Rye, senior pastor, spent some time Tuesday afternoon finding the best placement for an American flag near the entrance. Rye settled on securing the base of the flag pole with several large rocks, placing it in the middle of the sidewalk to attract voters to the polling site. U.S. Flag Code recommends the American flag be displayed in or near polling places on election days-Rye said he just thought it was a "good idea."-Chelsey Perkins

Hurry up and wait

The Crow Wing County Historic Courthouse on Laurel Street in Brainerd was quiet immediately after the polls closed but Administrative Services Director Deborah Erickson had early results from the absentee ballots cast. About an hour or so later, the elevator to the second floor, where elections and voting offices are located, was put to almost nonstop use as precincts came in with their voter ballots on the referendum.-Frank Lee

Improved tech

New equipment assisted election judges with the tallying of votes at polling places Tuesday. The machines were purchased with the help of a state grant to support new election equipment. Erickson said in addition to the new tallying machines, iPads were used across the board by election judges. Although deployed during the 2016 election, this was the first time everyone used the digital sign-in machinery, she said.-Chelsey Perkins

Sometimes we vote in April

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Many wondered why the Brainerd School District chose to move forward with a special election in April, rather than posing its ballot questions to voters in November. During an interview Tuesday, Steve Lund, director of business services for the district, said the special election meant a lower bill for taxpayers. The inflation of estimated construction costs for such a wide-ranging project put cost increases at approximately $350,000 for each month the district put off the project, Lund said.-Chelsey Perkins

Engaged electorate

A steady flow of readers kept BrainerdDispatch.com busy Tuesday night, peaking at about 770 people actively engaged with the website and social media pages. A total of 1,079 people were reached through Facebook on the live vote tally, presented on BrainerdDispatch.com. Live videos on the Brainerd Dispatch Facebook page saw hundreds of views throughout the night.-Renee Richardson

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