In Duluth’s Lincoln Park/West End neighborhood, the 28th precinct’s head election judge, Anges Vogel, said at 1:30 p.m. she had already had 668 voters.
“It’s heavy today, more than usual,” she said. “We usually have about 200.”
At midafternoon, voting was brisk, with no waiting for registered voters. “We’ve got a lot of new people voting,” Vogel said. Voters seemed to be a lively and diverse mix of young people, women with children, retirees and others during the day.
Duluth voters will be electing some city councilors as well as deciding how much taxpayers should boost the operational levy.
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In the 8th precinct on Duluth’s east side, in the basement of Duluth Congregational Church, head election judge Phyllis Sulkowski said this was largest turnout she’s seen in her 33 years as a judge. “I’ve been in this precinct for 20 years,” Sulkowski said. “We have 2,070 registered voters here and we’re over halfway there” as of 2 p.m.
“We had darn near 300 voters in the first hour,” she said, before barking, “No, no!” at a young voter who was trying to deliver his completed ballot to the wrong person. She directed him to the ballot counter.
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In rural Silver Creek Township, 10 miles north of Two Harbors, John Cornell stood outside to take a picture of the idyllic township hall where residents vote, nestled between a farm and a cemetery surrounded by pines.
“I love voting here,” he said, adding he’s been doing so for about 10 years. When asked why he voted this time around, he pointed at his Obama-Biden pin and said, simply, “That’s why.”
Inside, election judge Laura Kleive said turnout was “really great.” “So far we’ve had almost half of our registered voters come in,” she said, saying about 470 had voted as of 2:30 p.m.
St. Louis and Lake counties regularly post some of the highest voter turnout in Minnesota, a state that prides itself on energized voters.