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MARSHALL — Lyon County had a voter turnout of around 20% in this week’s primary election. While participation was high for a primary without local races on the ballot, the main driver behind it seemed to be an increase in absentee and mail voting, said Lyon County Auditor/Treasurer E.J. Moberg.

“Mail ballots are way up,” accounting for 70% of the votes cast in the primary, Moberg said.

A total of 2,825 people voted in Tuesday’s primary for U.S. Senate, Congressional District 7, and Minnesota Senate District 22 candidates. Of that total, only 822 people voted in person, Moberg said. The high participation of absentee and mail voters in the primary will likely be important for planning the logistics of November’s general election, he said.

The change in participation numbers comes in a year where more Lyon County cities and townships than ever before have decided to switch to using mail-in ballots. Of the 33 voting precincts in the county, only seven had in-person polling places on Tuesday — three in Marshall, and one each in the communities of Cottonwood, Minneota, Russell and Tracy.

Members of the Lyon County Canvassing Board met Friday afternoon at the Lyon County Government Center to canvass the votes from the primary. Moberg said the final tally of votes would be different from unofficial totals reported Tuesday night, because of procedure changes in accepting mail ballots.

For this year’s primary, ballots that were postmarked by Aug. 12 would still be accepted until the day before the canvassing board met, Moberg said. For Lyon County voters, that meant there would be an extra two days where mail ballots could be accepted.

Moberg said the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office accepted a total of 88 mail ballots that came in on Wednesday and Thursday. While they added to the vote totals, the mail ballots weren’t enough to change the favored candidates among Lyon County voters.

Jason Lewis and Tina Smith still led the Republican and Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidates for U.S. Senate, Michelle Fischbach and Collin Peterson still led the Republican and DFL candidates for CD7, and Bill Weber and Shawna Marshall led the Republican and DFL candidates for Minnesota Senate District 22.

U.S. Representative, District 7

In Lyon County, Collin Peterson received 841 votes, compared to 178 for Alycia R. Gruenhagen and 93 for Stephen A. Emery. In the Republican primary, Michelle Fischbach received 902 votes, with Dave Hughes receiving 196; William Louwagie receiving 172; Noel Collis receiving 126; and Jayesun Israel Sherman receiving 20.

Slater Johnson of the Legal Marijuana Now party received 17 votes, and Rae Hart Anderson of the Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis party received 8 votes.

U.S. Senate

In Lyon County, Tina Smith received 968 votes, compared to 55 for Steve Carlson, 45 for Paula Overby, 31 for Ahmad R. Hassan and 16 for Christopher Lovell Seymore. In the Republican primary, Jason Lewis received 1,037 votes, with John L. Berman receiving 128; Cynthia Gail receiving 98; James Reibestein receiving 71; and Bob Carney Jr. receiving 46.

Kevin O’Connor of the Legal Marijuana Now party received 20 votes, and Oliver Steinberg of the Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis party received 9 votes.

State Senate District 22

In Lyon County, Bill Weber received 358 votes. In the DFL primary, Shawna Marshall received 178 votes and Roger L. Elgersma received 58 votes. Brian Abrahamson of the Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis party received one vote.

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