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Pioneer Editorial: It's time for primary vote on Tuesday

It's the middle of summer, coasting through the Dog Days of August, and probably most people are going about their recreation plans without a thought of Tuesday's election.

Yes, there's an election on Tuesday.

Because of new federal laws dictating that there be more time between primary and general elections to allow for mailing and return of absentee ballots to members of the military serving overseas, the Minnesota Legislature moved up the traditional September primary election. It's now the second Tuesday in August, or this Tuesday, Aug. 10, this year.

It's a permanent move, so we Minnesotans will now have to get used to coming off the lakes for a period of time on a sunny August Tuesday to cast our ballots in the primary.

This year's primary is important in that it will narrow Democratic candidates for governor down to one who will face Republican Tom Emmer, who faces weak primary opposition, on Nov. 2. The endorsed candidate, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, faces stiff challenges from Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza. Tuesday's DFL gubernatorial primary will set the stage for the fall campaign and allow voters the opportunity for change, as current Gov. Tim Pawlenty isn't seeking reelection.

Even more important at the local level are primary elections for Bemidji City Council. The race for mayor has five candidates which will be narrowed to two for the Nov. 2 election. Similarly, fields will be narrowed in Ward 2 and at-large posts.

There are a lot of city issues on the table, and the council will be making tough decisions affecting the future of our community -- from dealing with a state budget deficit and its ramifications to the city, annexation, running the Bemidji Regional Event Center, dealing with capital investment issues in areas such as public works and streets, and so on.

Voters need to sort out the field on Tuesday, and we urge Bemidji voters to take the time to vote.

Also locally, there is a DFL primary affecting Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, who is challenged by Mark Thorson of Bemidji. That too will be on Tuesday's ballot.

Yes, it's still summertime, but we need to get used to a new tradition of voting in a primary election in August. Please find the time on Tuesday to cast some important votes.

Another unavoidable change for the Bemidji Pioneer will find very limited results of Tuesday's election in Wednesday's edition. In order to meet printing deadlines in Detroit Lakes, our Wednesday edition must go to press shortly after the polls close on Tuesday.

We will be hard at work, however, posting continuous results Tuesday night on our website at And full election results will be in Thursday's print edition.