Election Day: Polls close at 8 p.m. for 5th District race

Published 7:32 am Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Polls opened at 7 this morning for the special election between Mike Ankeny and Ron Felten to fill the 5th District seat on the Mower County Board of Commissioners.

The polls will be open until 8 p.m. at Southgate Elementary school and Austin High School.

According to Mower County Auditor-Treasurer Doug Groh, the winner will likely be sworn in as soon as possible after the election.

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Mower County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said the race is close between the two candidates.

“I think the district is fortunate that it has two good candidates,” Oscarson said

Both Felten and Ankeny have increased their campaigning recently to set themselves apart during a close race. Felten made phone calls last night to people in his district and also spent some time going door to door.

“I know it’s going to be close,” Felten said.

While Felten said he knew the job would be a lot of work, he said he didn’t know how much it took to campaign for the job.

Felten said he hoped his campaign efforts would mean more people remember to vote, as special elections often have lower voter turnout than regular elections.

Both Ankeny and Felten have put out signs in yards, and both have advertised in area newspapers.

Along with the advertisements, Ankeny said he called about 700 people in the 5th District and distributed about 2,000 door hanger fliers. He also said he stressed the importance of people getting out and participating in the election.

“It’s kind of exciting,” Ankeny said. “It’s going to be pretty close.”

In the special primary Jan. 20., just 382 votes were cast in a district with a population of about 7,600 — about 4,000 of the citizens are registered to vote. While only 9 percent of the registered voters voted in January, that was higher than the 7 percent — 340 voters — who participated in the special primary for the 5th District seat Feb. 27, 2001.

However, voter turnout improved for the special election on March 2, 2001, with 599 votes cast.

Groh said about 70 percent of registered voters often participate in general elections.