Ballots full as voters head to the polls

Local voters will have plenty to vote for beyond president come November 6.

Two Mille Lacs County commissioner races are in the Princeton area – one in District 1 and the other in District 2.

In District 1, which is the city of Princeton, candidates are incumbent Jack Edmonds and challenger Genny Reynolds. In District 2 (which covers the townships of Princeton, Greenbush and Milo and the cities of Foreston and Pease) incumbent Dan Whitcomb faces challenger Tim Wilhelm.

For state offices, Princeton area voters get to choose between Republican state Sen. Dave Brown and DFLer Sally Knox in Minnesota Senate District 15, and between Republican Rep. Sondra Erickson and DFLer Joe Walsh in the race for the Minnesota House District 15A seat.

Voters in the Eighth Congresssional District can choose between Republican Sen. Chip Cravaack and Democrat Rick Nolan. Residents in the Sixth Congressional District will choose either Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann or her challenger, Democrat Jim Graves.

The Princeton School Board has five positions (four four-year terms and one two-year term) to fill, and only four candidates filed. Jeremy Miller, Chad Young, Chuck Nagle and Howard Vaillancourt are seeking the four-year terms. Voters will have to write in a name for the fifth position for which no candidate filed.

Like the school board, there are no races on the Princeton City Council – but positions have to be filled.

The four-year terms of council members Victoria Hallin and Dick Dobson and the two-year term of Mayor Jeremy Riddle end this coming Dec. 31. Dobson and Hallin filed for re-election to the council. Riddle did not file for re-election. Council member Paul Whitcomb, whose term expires the end of 2014, filed for the mayoral seat. If Whitcomb is elected mayor, the council will have to appoint someone to fill out Whitcomb’s council term.

A U.S. Senate race is also going on between U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and challengers – Republican Kurt Bills, Minnesota Open Progressive candidate Michael Cavlan, Independence party candidate Stephen Williams and Grassroots Party candidate Tim Davis.

If that is not enough to vote for, voters get to decide if they want any of the two proposed amendments to the Minnesota state constitution that are proposed on the ballot statewide. The proposed marriage amendment, if passed, “would provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.” The other proposed amendment would, if passed, “require all voters (in Minnesota) to present valid photo identification to vote and to require the state to provide free identification to eligible voters, effective July 1, 2013.”

Not casting a vote for an amendment proposal will be considered a no vote on that question.

Voting polls will be universally open until 8 p.m. Most will open at 7 a.m. Dailey Township in Mille Lacs County is one of the few examples where a precinct polling place will open later. The Dailey polling place will open at 10 a.m., according to Mille Lacs Auditor-Treasurer Phil Thompson.

Also, the only way voters will be voting in the Mille Lacs townships of Bradbury, Hayland, Lewis and Mudgett are through the township voters mailing their ballots in.

For many years now, area precincts have been using the M-100 tabulator machine to count the cast ballots and also the Auto Mark machine for people to cast votes if they have some disabilities, including low vision.