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Mower County holds first election during COVID-19 pandemic

Last Tuesday’s primary election in Mower County served as a trial run in the COVID-19 era of voting for the November 3rd general election as all precincts in the city of Austin voted at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center.  KAUS News spoke with Amanda Kiefer, Deputy for Elections and Vital Records with the Mower County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office who stated to KAUS News that the in-person voting process went smoothly…

Kiefer went on to state that a good system was put in place to count a heavier-than-usual amount of mail-in and absentee ballots due to the COVID-19 pandemic…

Absentee ballots were counted as long as they were postmarked before the end of the day today Tuesday, and *received* by election officials by Thursday.  As last count, state officials had received over 637-thousand requests for absentee ballots — an all-time record — and over 423-thousand absentee ballots had been returned and accepted.  Kiefer stated that Mower County should be staffed accordingly for the November 3rd general election…

The unofficial results of Tuesday’s primary election in Mower County were released on Friday and in the primary for the office of Mayor of the city of Austin, Steve King garnered 1,519 votes, or 53.5%, Jeff Austin received 793 votes, or 27.9% and Brian Heimer tallied 527 votes, or 18.5%.  The top two candidates will face each other in the November 3rd general election as current Mayor Tom Stiehm has announced that he will not seek re-election.  In the State District 27A primary, Thomas Martinez received 20 votes in Mower County and 1,534 votes overall, or 69.85% while Joe Pacovsky received 18 votes in Mower County and 662 votes overall, or 30.1%.  Martinez had also received the DFL Party endorsement in the race against Pacovsky with more than 60% of the vote.  He will face Republican incumbent Peggy Bennett in the November election.

In the U.S. Senate primary, DFL incumbent Tina Smith was the runaway winner in Mower County with 1,963 votes, or 86.7%.  The next closest finisher in the field of five candidates was Steve Carlson with 135 votes, or 5.9%.  For the Republicans, Jason Lewis received 878 votes, or 64.6%.  His closest pursuer in Mower County was Cynthia Gail with 156 votes, or 11.4%.  Both Smith and Lewis are the presumptive candidates for their respective parties.

Officials were hoping to verify Mower County results on Friday. The State will then verify the results on Tuesday.


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