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Sample ballot omitted candidates in Ward 5

BEMIDJI – Some candidates and the school’s operating levy request in today’s election were not included as part of a sample ballot printed in The Pioneer on Sunday.

The sample ballot, a legal advertisement organized and paid for by Beltrami County, omitted the names of Ward 5 candidates Greg Negard and Nancy Erickson. In addition, three of seven Bemidji Area School Board candidates and the proposed seven-year extension of the school district’s $501-per-pupil operating levy were not printed.

School board candidates on the ballot today are Paula DeClusin, Jeff Haack, Dana Kuzel, incumbent John Pugleasa, John Truedson, incumbent Ann Long Voelkner, and Rob Warmboe.

“It was a literal cut and paste the old-fashioned way and it’s apparent it was left out,” said Auditor/Treasurer Kay Mack about the Ward 5 omission.

“The Auditor’s Office and the Pioneer work extremely closely to be sure that all the information is provided to the public.  When anything is incorrect it is always very unfortunate.  So the tolerance people show has always been so appreciated on the part of the people that work so hard to get it right.”

The missing portion of the sample ballot is reprinted in the legals section of today’s Pioneer.

Sample ballots are a representation of what voters will fill out during the voting process. The county’s sample ballot crosses all district lines to include all races – and it isn’t specific to an individual precinct.

For example, voters in each of Bemidji’s wards will only cast ballots for city council races for their ward. The other wards will not appear on their ballot.

Mack said voters should look at sample ballots posted at individual polling sites for information about which candidates are running in their precinct.

“As many races and questions going on, there’s so many layers of detail,” Mack said Monday.

The Bemidji Area School District also published its ballot – with names of board candidates and the referendum – in the Oct. 19 and Oct. 24 issues of the Pioneer.

“It had not been our intention to include the Bemidji School District in the sample ballot publication, as their ballot had already been published twice,” Mack said.

“Naturally, when anything gets published we all want to have it be absolutely complete.  However, in this case, ISD #31 should not have appeared at all on the Nov. 4 sample ballot.”

Steve Wagner

Grand Forks Herald Editor Steve Wagner can be reached at 701.780.1104 and He joined the Herald in April 2013, and previously worked as editor at the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer and in several roles -- including news director, investigative reporter and crime reporter - at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. His reporting experience includes coverage of Dru Sjodin's disappearance and the federal death penalty case for her murderer, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., along with several investigative projects. In his spare time, Wagner is an avid runner and occasionally writes about his experiences on his blog, Addicted to Running.

(701) 780-1104