Lake County voter turnout high
Lake County saw high voter turnout for the 2018 midterm election Tuesday, Nov. 6, with 5,951 total ballots cast.
Lake County Auditor/Treasurer Linda Libal said the turnout was at least as high as the 2016 presidential election. "We're seeing tons of turn out — more than we'd expected," she said Tuesday.
The number of absentee or early voting ballots was "higher than the presidential election," she said.
With such a large turn out ahead of Election Day, Libal said she believed they'd see lower numbers at the polls.
"But, that's not the case. People really turned out to vote this year," she said.
Silver Creek Township had the highest number of registered voters with 822 registered as of 7 a.m. Election Day. The township had 695 ballots cast — a turnout rate of roughly 85 percent. In Two Harbors, 1,342 total ballots were cast as of 6 p.m., two hours before polls closed. The total grew to 1,717 total ballots cast in Two Harbors.
Voters had a variety of reasons for showing up at the polls. Two Harbors resident Michael Collins was focused on the country as a whole. "I want to see America change and voting is a way to see that change," he said.
Collins noted he'd observed more friends posting on social media about the election and taking selfies with their "I voted" stickers.
Dave Leon noted a lower turnout than he'd expected when he arrived at the polls at around 6:30 p.m.
"But, I don't think I'm here at the highest voting time. This is the time when everyone who forgot to vote earlier, like me, shows up," Leon said.
Leon said his main motivation for voting was to "keep the state blue and help the Democrats do as much as possible to block Trump."
Other residents were focused on local issues. When Josh Shold was asked what motivated him to get to the polls, he cited "infrastructure in town."
The city of Two Harbors' question about increasing the city's sales tax from a half-percent to 1 percent, with the increased revenue going to infrastructure improvements, passed by 1,162 to 499.
Two Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson praised the passage of the sales tax increase with a post on Facebook: "We are excited to continue on road, alley and sidewalk work. Once all is approved at the Legislature, these dollars will help keep the costs of these projects lower for property owners."
The mayor also congratulated newly elected city councilors Jackie Rennwald, Ben Redden and Miles Woodruff, while thanking Zach Anderson and Uriah Helfter for "running respectable and clean campaigns."