JACKSON -- Jackson County’s election results came in a little later than expected Wednesday morning due to the county’s time-consuming process of counting votes.
Jackson County Auditor and Treasurer Kevin Nordquist said the county was able to upload the election results to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State (OMSS) around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Results from most counties in the state were on the OMSS website by between 11 and 11:30 p.m.
“It was successful, just very slow,” Nordquist said.
Nordquist explained that the method used by Jackson County to process votes is different from other Minnesota counties. He said the county only has five precinct ballot tabulators, and ballots from the county’s other 23 precincts are delivered to the courthouse and manually entered into the tabulators before being uploaded to the OMSS website.
“It is just way slower because you have to run them by hand,” he said. “In other counties, the voters are entering their ballots in the tabulator and they are been tabulated throughout the day. We have to wait until after the polls close.”
Nordquist said other counties have all their votes automatically stored on USB from their precinct tabulators.
“They just plug it in their computer and upload to the OMSS cite, so they don't go through the process of running the ballots again,” he said.
Nordquist noted that even though the county recently replaced its voting machines, the new ones are still slower than machinery in other counties. He added that when the county received funds from Help America Vote Act years ago, it bought a central-count machine that isn’t as time-efficient as the precinct tabulators.
“Jackson decided to go with the central-count machine where most other counties decided to put precinct tabulators out in all their precincts,” Nordquist said. “So the only thing they have to do is to bring their results and upload to the OMSS, which is much quicker.”
Nordquist said Help America Vote Act funds are no longer available, which means the county has to assume the cost of replacing voting machines. That’s not a priority, he indicated, because their process is still accurate.
“Now that we don’t have those funds available, we are looking to update technology with county funds,” Nordquist said. “We are just not willing to spend a whole bunch of money for one night every couple of years to get the results a few hours faster.”
Once Jackson County residents waited out the counting process, they learned who three new county commissioners would be in contested races.
David Scott McClure is the new county commissioner in District 1, defeating Richard Erickson by a margin of 535-485. Cathy Hohenstein easily won the District 3 county commissioner matchup, topping Albert Henning by nearly 300 votes (553-354). In a much tighter race, James Eigenberg’s 583 votes defeated Wayne Rasche (496) for the District 5 seat.
Here are Jackson County election results:
Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence 3609
Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine 1492
Darrell Castle and Scott Bradley 22
Dan R. Vacek and Mark Elworth Jr. 17
Alyson Kennedy and Osborne Hart 1
Jill Stein and Howie Hawkins 49
“Rocky” Roque De La Fuente and Michael Steinberg 1
Evan McMullin and Nathan Johnson 81
Gary Johnson and William Weld 181
Jim Hagedorn 3248
Tim Walz 2180
Bill Weber 1694
Brian Abrahamson 682
Julie Rosen 2103
Barbara Ann Lake 877
District 22 B
Rod Hamilton 1747
Kirby G. Kruse 664
The Board of Independent School District No. 2895, Jackson County Central Schools, has proposed to renew its referendum revenue authorization, which is set to expires in 2017, in an amount equal to 284.87 per pupil.