As of Wednesday morning 750 ballots have been collected by Stearns County Election Officials.  Stearns County Division Director of Services and Elections Dave Walz joined me on WJON today.  Walz says the ballots collected remain sealed.  He says early voting started last Friday at the County Administration Center in downtown St. Cloud across from the Courthouse and at the West Service Center.  Hours at both locations to vote early is from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  He says voting at those locations is similar to voting in person on election day with the exception of the ballot being placed in a sealed envelope.

 

The ballots collected from absentee and the early votes are all counted and Walz and says will be included in the final vote totals.  He says 31 of the 91 Stearns County Precincts chose to have mail-in voting this time.  That means the ballots are mailed to people's homes.  Each absentee and mail in vote need to be postmarked by November 3 (election day) for the vote to count.  Mailed in ballots can be accepted up to 7 days after the election.  Walz says because of this we may not know who has won a specific election on November 3 if that race is close.  He says they have a thorough process to make sure ballots aren't mailed to deceased people and registering a pet to vote is a felony.

Walz says they will not have less election locations this year and he feels like they have enough election judges signed up.

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