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Voters hit polls; 1,700 ballots already in

Lead Summary
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Lori Sorenson

The Star Herald went to press Tuesday afternoon as voters were still participating at the polls, but local election official Ashley Kurtz was keeping tabs on Election Day processes.
“We have not had any hiccups so far,” she said Monday. “Everything has been going smoothly. We are in close contact with the post office too and will continue to be throughout the day tomorrow.”
She said postal workers have kept an eye out for ballots to make sure they get where they belong.
“We’ve even received ballots that weren’t put in the mailing envelope, just the signature envelope, so they are working hard to help the process,” Kurtz said.
As of noon on Tuesday, Kurtz said her office had accepted a total of 1,714 absentee and mail ballots.
Considering there are 5,582 registered voters in Rock County, that equates to a 31-percent voter turnout long before the polls closed.
Eighteen of Rock County’s 24 precincts are mail-ballot-only precincts, so that accounts for a good share of the early voting.
 Absentee voting began Sept. 23, and that’s when people could begin applying for absentee ballots.  
In 2020 there were 1,181 absentee ballots and 2,024 mail ballots for a total of 3,205. By comparison, in 2018 Rock County had 459 absentee ballots and 1,454 mail ballots for a total of 1,913.
Kurtz said some voters have been influenced by online disinformation about “rigged” voting and have even harassed courthouse election staff.
“To be honest, it’s been brutal here as far as how staff has been treated by some voters with regard to the mail and absentee voting process, which is something we’ve never really dealt with in years past,” she said on Oct. 24. 
But she said the voting process is more secure than ever, explaining how her staff processes ballots at the courthouse.
They get scanned one at a time into a voting machine that records information on a jump drive.
At the close of the polls, the drive gets transferred to a secure computer that’s not connected to the internet.
That computer then generates a jump drive that gets uploaded to the Minnesota Secretary of State Office where results are posted online.
Kurtz said her office has been helping to register new voters, many of them young people and first-time voters.
Voters can check the status of their ballots at
The Minnesota Secretary of State website,, will also carry election results as the precincts deliver them.
See the Star Herald website,, and Facebook page for updates and final results.

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