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In Minnesota, more than 200 state officials and 200 county commissioners will be elected at the general election in November. Voters will also cast for president, a senator to represent Minnesota, and a U.S. Congressman to represent their district.
According to Mary Kiffmeyer, Minnesota's Secretary of State, primaries are conducted like general elections, with election judges at the polling places, secret ballots, and the Secretary of State's office tabulating the results.
The primary does have a different purpose than the general election. In the primary, voters will select a party's candidate for the general election.
Only the candidates from four parties appear on the ballot: Constitution (C), Independence (I), Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL), and Repub-lican (R). Voters must select among a single party's candidates on the entire ballot. Write-in votes are not allowed.
"The primary is probably more accurately characterized not as an 'election' but rather as a 'nomination' to November's general election ballot," Kiffmeyer wrote in a press release. "By contrast, the purpose of the general election is, of course, to choose public officials who will hold particular offices."
Minnesota has an open primary, which means that voters do not have to register by party. The primary is open to all voters, regardless of party. However, voters may only vote on one party's slate of candidates on the primary ballot.
Contested primary races include the nominations of all the parties in the U.S. Senate race, the Republican candidates in both the Second and Seventh Con-gressional Districts, and the Fourth District Commissioner in Meeker County.
In the Senate race, the Constitution, Independence, and Republican parties each have two candidates in the primary. The seat is currently held by Rod Grams (R-Anoka). The DFL-field has the most candidates, with more than a half dozen names on the ballot.
In the Second Congressional District two Republicans and two Independence party members have filed for the seat held by David Minge, DFL-Montevideo. (See list of candidates on page 3.) The Republican candidates are Mark Kennedy of Watertown, the endorsed candidate, and Joe Wagner, a Scott County Commissioner from Jordan.
In the Seventh Congressional District, two Republicans have filed for the seat held by incumbent Colin Peterson, DFL-Warroad. The Republicans in the primary are Glen Menze of Starbuck, the endorsed candidate, and Aleta Edin of Upsala.
At the county level, the only primary race that affects voters in the Paynesville area is the Fourth Com-missioner District in Meeker County.
Three names are on the primary ballot and only two can be on the general election ballot.
In the fourth district are the townships of Mannanah, Union Grove, Forest City, Swede Grove, and Forest Prairie; and the cities of Eden Valley and Watkins.
U.S. citizens who are 18 years of age and older are eligible to vote in the primary election.
Voters must be a Minnesota resident for at least 20 days before the election, must be a resident of the precinct on election day, must not be a convicted felon deprived of of their civil rights, must not be under the guardianship of another person, and must not be legally incompetent.
First-time voters can register at the polls on election day. First-time voters will need to show proof of identity and the address where they are living on election day.
Voters who will be unable to vote at their polling places on Tuesday, Sept. 12, can obtain an absentee ballot from their county auditor's office. In many counties, the applications for an absentee ballot may be faxed.
County auditors will have extended office hours for absentee voting prior to primary day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, and until 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 11.
Voters should contact their county auditor or municipal clerk for additional information. or call the Secretary of State's office at 1-877-600-VOTE. Election information is also available at www.sos.state.mn.us/pubs.html.
Primary results will also be available at that website starting at 8 p.m. on primary day.
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