Nobles County sees a high voter turnout
WORTHINGTON -- It was a busy night Tuesday at polling places across Minnesota, and the southwest corner of the state was no exception.
Nobles County Auditor/Treasurer Sharon Balster said Wednesday afternoon that an even 8,600 people voted in the county. A total of 9,160 individuals were registered as of 7 a.m. Tuesday, and the county had 1,533 new registrants over the course of the day.
As a result, Nobles County wound up with a voter turnout of 93.89 percent.
"I would say that's our highest in 37 years," Balster said. "Just from my memory, I'm thinking about 75 to 80 percent may have been the past high."
Balster added that she wasn't surprised by the high turnout rate, and said her office was well prepared and handled the ballot-counting process smoothly.
"We have been No. 2 in the whole state (completing ballot counts) - I'm not positive," Balster said. "We were one of the first; I can say that."
Voter turnout was even heavier in Rock County, Auditor/Treasurer Ashley Kurtz said.
With 5,161 registered voters as of 7 a.m. Tuesday and 4,864 ballots cast, the turnout came in at 94.25 percent.
"In 2008, we had a turnout of 88 percent and that was a record," Kurtz said. "We didn't have any major problems last night - things went really well."
Pipestone County Auditor Joyce Steinhoff said Wednesday that voter turnout in her county was 92.4 percent.
"I know we've been at 87 before, and that was really fantastic," Steinhoff said. "But I would say this is the highest we've ever had."
A total 4,687 ballots were cast in Pipestone County. Registered voters at 7 a.m. Tuesday numbered 5,071; there were 669 new registrants on Election Day.
Elsewhere in southwest Minnesota:
* Murray County had a voter turnout of 95.51 percent. A total of 4,815 ballots were cast; 5,041 were registered as of 7 a.m. Tuesday.
* Cottonwood County saw 93.8 percent voter turnout. A total of 5,916 ballots were cast; 6,307 were registered as of 7 a.m. Election Day.
* Jackson County had 92.86 percent voter turnout. The number of ballots cast was 5,499; the Tuesday morning registrants' number was 5,992.
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie estimated late Tuesday that statewide voter turnout was in the 75- to 78-percent range.
Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey may be reached at