Election Day: Bucholz leads commissioner race

Perham area polling places seeing high voter turnout.

While Perham's polling place at City Hall was busiest in the morning hours voters still lined up outside as they waited for their turn to go inside and vote. (RosaLin Alcoser/Focus)

Dan Bucholz was leading the Otter Tail County District 1 County Commissioner race as of 6 a.m., Nov. 4, as part of the 2020 general election.

While results were not final yet, Bucholz was leading with 4,215 votes while his opponent Betsy Roder was following with 3,137 votes.

Bucholz said Wednesday he has no comment on the race at this time.

Otter Tail County Auditor-Treasurer Wayne Stein said 92 of the 92 precincts have reported to the county, however, there are mail-in ballots that are still being counted. He said the race will not be officially called until the county canvas on Nov. 13.

In the race for the two open Perham City Council seats as of 11:30 p.m. Nov. 3, James Johnson was leading with 917 votes, followed by Eric Spencer with 730 votes and Jeff Fritz with 680 votes.


Running unopposed for the office of Perham mayor was Tim Meehl, who had 1,345 votes.

In the race for the three four-year Perham-Dent School Board seats, the incumbents Sue Von Ruden had 4,366 votes, Cyndy Huber had 4,020 votes, and Aaron Kalina has 4,208 votes. In the special election for the two-year seat on the board, the incumbent Arnie Thompson had 5,563 votes.

As of 11:30 p.m. Soil and Water Supervisor District 1 (East) candidate Dennis E. Reynolds had 12,167 votes, Soil and Water Supervisor District 4 (East) candidate Terry Greenwaldt had 12,214 votes, and Soil and Water Supervisor District 5 (East) candidate Steven G. Inwards had 12,028 votes.

Hospital District Board member at-large candidate Dean Simpson had 5,313 votes as of 11:30 p.m.

While the polls were open, the Perham area polling places saw high voter turnout and many newly registered voters.

Voting for the primary election for Perham residents took place in Perham’s City Hall while voting for Perham and Pine Lake Townships took place at the Perham Area Community Center.

Heather Hoeft, head election judge for the city of Perham, said at the polling place saw a large turnout of voters in the morning and then held steady throughout the day. She said the polling place has been extremely busy all morning even with a high number of absentee voters for this election. As of Nov. 2, about 504 absentee ballots have already been counted.

Hoeft said about 1,000 Perham voters had cast their votes so far, while voter turnout in the last general election was about 1,200.


Hoeft said voters coming into the Perham polling place have been mindful about social distancing, wearing a mask, and waiting for their turn to vote.

Jonathan Smith, an election judge for the city of Perham, said the city has seen about 100 voters come in per hour over the course of the day.

Hoeft said Perham has had a lot of newly registered voters come in for this election.

Perham has had about 80 new voters register for this election, Smith said.

Perham resident and veteran Todd Thompson, who is a longtime voter, said he takes voting in all the elections very seriously.

Perham Township saw a large voter turn out, Sharon Loerzel, head election judge for Perham Township, said. She said about 25% of voters in Perham Township have already voted absentee before the polls opened.


Perham Township had a rise in newly registered voters in the Township, Andy Hirchey, a Perham Township election judge, said.

People have been wonderful about keeping their distance and respectful about the polling places COVID-19 guidelines, Marleen Johnson, an election judge for Pine Lake Township, said.

Johnson said Pine Lakes Township has seen a high voter turnout and had a higher than normal voting absentee turnout this election.

Sydney Roberts, a Pine Lakes Township election judge, said as of 4 p.m., Pine Lake Township's voter turnout has held steady throughout the day and the township is seeing about an average number of newly registered voters for this election.

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