Special Election for Ward 5

Election Day

ROCHESTER, MN — Those in Rochester are once again at the polls.

The string of special elections in started with the sudden death of city council president Dennis Hanson over one year ago.

Slow and steady can sum up what the polls looked like in Rochester.

“We had our first voter probably 7:10, 7:15; they’ve been trickling in,” said Election Judge, Stephen Troutman.

Like all special elections, election judges like Troutman have to do a bit of extra work.

“We have a plastic box to collect the ballots and the actual count of the ballots will be done via the manual process,” Troutman said.

This is not the first time, and likely not the last, Rochester will host a special election.

Since Hanson’s untimely passing the process is being done to fill his void. Now that is taken care of with Randy Staver taking Hanson’s place, but since he was already a council member, an election is being held to fill that position.

Through it all, Mayor Ardell Brede said things have been going smoothly.

“Bob Nowicki, who used to be the council member for ward 5, he was asked if he would step in for a while and he stepped in and didn’t miss a beat and has been really good,” Brede said.

Soon he will be able to go back to the way things were before he stepped in, but the person who takes over will be staying busy for a while

“The unfortunate part, whoever wins this, they’ll need to campaign next year again because that term for that ward is up next year,” Brede said.

While many know that the election process is probably not over yet, they know it is a step in the right direction.

“Today, we can get one more chapter out of the way of this saga that’s been going on,” Brede said.

It is estimated that these special elections cost about $20,000 each time they are done according to the city.

The reason this is happening is because Hanson won in November despite having died. State law required his name stay on the ballot, but since then, Brede said the legislature has changed that.

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