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PRIMARY ELECTION: County attorney race and Red Lake school district drew voters out

BEMIDJI -- Beltrami County’s voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary election fell just below the anticipated rate, but was higher than the state’s average overall. 

A total of 16 percent of Beltrami County registered voters participated, while the state average as 9.8 percent.

“It seems like the numbers are low, but for a primary, that’s a good turnout,” said Beltrami County Auditor/Treasurer JoDee Treat.

There are 24,083 registered voters in the county with a population of approximately 45,000. Treat said the county plans for 20 percent of registered voters to take part..

And one Beltrami County precinct requested additional ballots halfway through Election Day. The Turtle River Township precinct judge noticed ballots were running low, so more official ballots were created and transported to the site, Treat said. Turtle River Township reported a 23 percent voter turnout.

Beltrami County has 62 precincts; 31 mail in and 31 regular precincts. Northern Township is unique in it is divided by a congressional district so it has two polling precincts and separate ballots. Northern Township’s precinct one reported the highest number of voters registered on election day (30). The city of Bemidji’s Ward 2 had the highest number of military overseas ballots (56). One county precinct, in Funkley, reported zero voters, however, there are only four registered voters.

“A lot of the turnout was dictated by the county attorney race,” Treat said. “The Red Lake school district race contributed, too.”

Annie Claesson-Huseby lead the Beltrami County Attorney race with 58.5 percent of the votes followed by David L. Hanson with 27.5 percent and Darrel Carter with 14 percent. Claesson-Huseby and Hanson advanced to the general election on Nov. 4.

In a race between 17 people, Thomas Barrett came out in the lead with 12 percent of votes for School Board member at large in Red Lake’s School District No. 38.

Treat said canvassing, when results are officially accepted, will be completed Friday morning. “There will be a much higher turnout for the general election,” Treat said.

Treat will appear on the general election ballots running unopposed for the county auditor/treasurer position. Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp and County Commissioner Richard D. Anderson (District 3) are also running unopposed. Matt Bliss and Keith H. Winger will face off for Jack Frost’s District 1 seat.

Voter Turnout

Beltrami’s neighboring counties ranged between 8 to 54 percent of registered voters participating in Tuesday’s primary election:

Cass 16 percent

Clearwater 13 percent

Hubbard 14 percent

Koochiching 16 percent

Lake of the Woods 54 percent

Mahnomen 42 percent

Marshall 24 percent

Pennington 8 percent

Polk 12 percent

Red Lake 18 percent

Source: Minnesota Secretary of State website:

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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