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Mounts, Pollard, Patrick claim victory in Ottertail

Ottertail election judge Sharon Fleischauer assists voters at the Ottertail Community Center as they cast their votes in this year's tight election.1 / 2
Leah Westphal, Ottertail, dressed up to play the part of Republican VP Candidate Sarah Palin. She paid a visit to several local businesses after the polls closed in Ottertail on November 4.2 / 2

After a highly competitive election year, with door-knocking, mail outs, yard signs, and even websites, the votes are in for the city of Ottertail's local election.

Joining the Ottertail City Council for the first time in 2009 will be Heather Pollard, a social worker with Otter Tail County. Pollard was the leader in the city council race, with 176 votes.

Incumbent Don Patrick was re-elected to the other vacant council seat, with 158 votes. Also vying for the two Ottertail council seats were incumbent Jeff Spanswick, 137 votes and Mike Windey, 102 votes.

Current Ottertail Mayor Raymond "Ole" Mounts was re-elected for the next two years, with a 47-vote lead over Ottertail City Councilman Terry Wagenman. Wagenman was challenging Mounts for the mayoral position. Although he didn't win the vote for mayor, Wagenman will remain on the Ottertail City Council for the next two years of his elected term.

The close election, combined with the tight presidential election, brought record numbers to the Ottertail polls. The city, with 342 registered voters, had logged 57 new registered voters as of 7 p.m. on November 4.

According to the city's election judges, voting was steady throughout the day. With just an hour until polls closed, the small city had received 296 ballots, a number which doesn't include the additional absentee ballots filled out prior to the election.

Election judges LaVey Thalmann, Margaret Grefe, Sharon Fleischauer, Marlys Lueders, and head judge Pat Ahlfs reported that they had several older people who registered to vote for the first time during this election.

"Some other people said this was the first time they'd voted in 20 years," said Lueders.