Voting at First Lutheran

Lu and Tim Brown vote at First Lutheran Church on Tuesday morning.

Washington County voters may have stayed home, but they turned in a record number of absentee ballots and broke recent records for total voter turnout in Tuesday's primary election.

The county reported 4,897 absentee ballots were returned, smashing the total for the last presidential primary when 711 were returned in 2016. Voter turnout — 41 percent — was the highest in 10 years for a primary, according to county clerk Barb Sullivan.

“Overall, it was a great turnout,” she said.

Washington County polling places remained unusually quiet Tuesday. Though 1,156 voters cast their ballots in person.

By noon on Tuesday, the Dana and Arbor Park polling places at First Lutheran Church in Blair hadn't seen as many voters as usual. Poll workers said election days are "usually swamped," but the push for absentee ballots in precaution of COVID-19 likely led to the just more than 40 voters who'd stopped by the two polling places four hours into the day.

A slight uptick in the number of in-person voters occurred after a nearly 30-minute silent period at First Lutheran Church. Blair resident Ron Williby was one of those in-person voters, and he said he wanted to vote in person because it seemed like he was exercising his right and responsibility as a citizen more so than mailing in a ballot.

"Plus, I already think there's too much online shopping," he said.

Michael Griffin, who said he lives just around the corner from First Lutheran, said he voted in person to ensure that his vote was his.

"I don't believe in mail in voting," he said. "I think it's an easy way to cheat."

Blair resident Kandi Heuton said she never received an absentee ballot request form in the mail. Even if she had, she said she wasn't sure whether she would have completed a mail-in ballot or voted in person.

"If you asked at the beginning of all the coronavirus stuff, I probably would have done mail-in, now I'm not sure," she said. "I'm choosing faith over fear."

There were 118 in-person voters in Arlington. However, poll workers said it was still slow.

"It's a pretty good indication when 8 a.m. rolls around and there's not a line out the door," Arlington volunteer Pat Tourek said. "No lines at all. There's usually 10-12 people in line already waiting. Not a soul this morning.”

Supervisors race could face recount

Washington County had two contested races for the Board of Supervisors — one which was close enough it may trigger a recount.

Incumbent Jay Anderson finished with 243 votes to challenger Mike Mackie's 235 votes for the board's District 5 seat. Another challenger, Herta Bouvia, finished third with 148 votes.

With only an eight vote difference, it's likely there will be a recount, whether Mackie requests one or not.

“I'm pretty confident it's going to need a recount,” Sullivan said.

The canvassing board still will need to meet next week. Provisional ballots also will have to be checked and counted.

“From what I heard from poll workers, there weren't too many provisionals so I doubt that would really change anything, but you never know,” Sullivan said.

In District 7, incumbent Kevin Barnhill, who was appointed to the position following the unexpected death of Andy Andreasen in December, finished ahead of challenger and former board member Ron Hineline, 245-187.

Voting at First Lutheran

Poll workers Cathy Comstock and Mary Sellon watch as Cheston Field deposits his ballot in the ballot box Tuesday at First Lutheran Church.

Washington County unofficial primary election results

(16 of 16 precincts reporting)

County reporting 41 percent voter turnout

President

Republican

Donald J. Trump 3,480

Bill Weld 278

Write-in 87

Democrat

Joe Biden 1,153

Tulsi Gabbard 41

Bernie Sanders 134

Elizabeth Warren 57

Write-in 59

Libertarian

Max Abramson 22

Dan Behrman 1

Lincoln Chafee 3

Jacob Hornberger 5

Jo Jorgensen 4

Adam Kokesh 8

Write-in 37

U.S. senator

Republican

Ben Sasse 3,217

Matt Innis 762

Write-in 24

Democrat

Dennis Macek 50

Chris Janicek 467

Larry Marvin 60

Angie Philips 294

Alisha Shelton 239

Daniel M. Wik 53

Andy Stock 118

Write-in 26

Libertarian

Gene Siadek 55

Write-in 44

Congress District 1

Republican

Jeff Fortenberry 3,702

Write-in 82

Democrat

Babs Ramsey 365

Kate Bolz 906

Write-in 27

Libertarian

Dennis B. Grace 54

Write-in 44

Washington County Board of Supervisors

District 5

Herta M. Bouvia 148

Jay P. Anderson 243

Mike Mackie 235

District 7

Kevin Barnhill 245

Ronald Hineline 187

Write-in 4

State Board of Education

District 3

Patti S. Gubbels 2,997

Mike Goos 1,421

Write-in 102

Metro CC Board of Governors

District 3

Dave Pantos 917

Adam Gotschall 1,395

Cameron J. Gales 827

Gerald Mike Kuhn 890

Write-in 105

Bennington School Board

Kara Neuverth 74

Darren Siekman 38

Chris Reiner 25

Terri Calabro 17

Joshuwa Hannum 38

Tim Dreessen 118

Allyson Crossman Slobotski 20

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