City had record turnout in Nov. 6 electionA record 77.26 percent of the city’s registered voters went to the polls, surpassing the previous high of 77.01 percent in November 1992.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The city of Hudson saw a record number of voters in the Nov. 6 general election, both in ballots cast and the percentage of registered voters participating in the election.
A total of 7,212 city residents exercised their right to vote, according to a report from City Administrator Devin Willi and City Clerk Nancy Korson. The number of voters beat the previous high of 7,054 in the 2008 presidential election.
A record 77.26 percent of the city’s registered voters went to the polls, surpassing the previous high of 77.01 percent in November 1992. The next-highest turnout percentage was 70.61 percent in 2000.
The turnout topped 80 percent by a fraction of a point in three aldermanic districts. It was 80.96 percent in District 3, 80.93 percent in District 2 and 80.8 percent in District 6.
District 1 had the lowest turnout at 68.04 percent.
The polling place at the United Methodist Church had the greatest number of voters, 1,914, by a slight margin. Residents of Districts 3 and 4 residents vote at the church.
The St. Croix County Government Center was the next-busiest polling place with 1,908 voters. Residents of Districts 2 and 6 voted at the government center.
Hudson City Hall was the least busy polling place, with 1,706 residents of Districts 1 and 5 coming there to vote.
“I thought everything went very smoothly, at least from our experience,” City Clerk Nancy Korson said of the election. She spent most of the day at the government center.
“I know there were some people who had to wait in line, be we also know that is sort of common. It is to be expected in a presidential election,” Korson, when asked about a complaint from a District 4 voter who said she waited 55 minutes to vote Election Day morning.
Korson said she wasn’t aware that anyone had had to wait in line that long. She said the typical wait was closer to 35 minutes.
“Unfortunately, there was a wait, and for some people it was longer than others,” she said.
Korson said the city could use more election workers, called election inspectors.
Nominees for election inspectors come through the two major political parties and must be approved by the City Council, which takes time, Korson said. Also, there needs to be an equal balance between Republicans and Democrats, and the inspectors have to be trained before they can work an election.
“So it’s a longer process than people might think,” Korson said.
“When it’s a presidential election, we want to make sure that we have people who have had experience in the past, so they know what to expect and how demanding the job is,” she added.
Election inspectors don’t just hand out ballots, she noted, but also register voters, process absentee ballots and serve as floaters.
“So there’s a lot of other things going on besides people just getting ballots at the tables with the poll books,” Korson said.
City Administrator Devin Willi reported to the City Council Monday night that the clerk’s office is in the process of entering the names of some 1,000 people into the poll books who registered the day of the election.
“There was heavy registration even though you wouldn’t have that it would be as heavy, since we’ve had five other elections this year,” Korson said.
Staffing elections is further complicated by the fact that not all of the election inspectors on the list can be counted on to show up for work.
“Sometimes we don’t get the response,” Korson said. “It may look like we have a long list of people, but if everyone isn’t available that day, or can’t work or they’re gone or whatever, the pool becomes smaller to draw from.”
Of the city’s 83 approved election inspections, 44 completed the required training and worked on Nov. 6, Korson reported.