Herald JournalHerald Journal, March 7, 2005

HLWW: only ballots received get counted

By Lynda Jensen

A false rumor about the reliability of mail-in ballots is causing school officials to underline how safe the process traditionally is considered.

Specifically, people are saying that lost or spoiled votes will be counted as “yes” votes, reported School Board Member Charles Weber.What's in it for YOU?

This isn’t true, Supt. George Ladd said.

“It’s like any other election, only ballots received are those counted,” he said.

The mail-in ballot procedure is very similar to absentee ballots, commented Mike Torkelson, a Minnesota School Board Association employee for more than 35 years and presently a semi-retired MSBA election consultant.

Since 2000, there have been 19 mail-in elections and there has not been a problem with any of them, he said.

Those who are nervous about the mail-in procedure may cast their votes in-person at a poll booth to be located at the district office in Howard Lake – for one day only – from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 29.

Non-registered voters

Those who aren’t registered may take care of this by visiting the district office in Howard Lake one day only, Tuesday March 29.

Unregistered voters need only bring one of the following:

• a valid driver’s license, permit or identification card, or receipt for any of these forms that contain a current address

• an original bill in the voter’s name for gas, electric, telephone, cable, solid waste, water or sewer services showing current address, due up to 30 days before or after election day (showing proof of residency)

• a passport, military identification card with photo, or Minnesota postsecondary identification card with photo.

If someone has a valid driver’s license with a current address, this should be all they need to register, Greeley said.

If the voter’s address changed, then the other documentation would be needed to establish residency, she said.

Snowbirds, college students

Those who live temporarily outside the district, such as snowbirds or college students, may wish to obtain absentee ballots for the mail-in ballot.

Those interested in this should contact Greeley at (320) 543-3521 or by e-mail, mgreeley@hlww.k12.mn.us.

Completed ballots must be received at the polling place in Howard Lake by 8 p.m. March 29. “It doesn’t go by the postmark,” Greeley said.

“If they’re going to mail them the day before, they’re going to take that chance,” she said.

Absentee ballots may also be turned in via a “designated agent” on the last day of the election, March 29.

“Anybody can vote absentee,” Greeley said.

Correction on school mailing

The school district accidentally included an incorrect phone number for a recent mailing announcing its intent to conduct the mail-in ballot.

For sample tax impact information, voters should call Ehlers and Associates at 800-552-1171, Greeley said.

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