By Hannah Jones firstname.lastname@example.org Nov 9, 2016
Voters in Prior Lake and Savage turned out in droves on Election Day and chose Melissa Enger (incumbent), Mary Frantz and Lee Shimek for the three open Prior Lake-Savage Area School Board seats, according to unofficial results from Scott County.
Just over 24,500 voters cast ballots for the school board race. Enger and Shimek earned nearly 7,500 apiece, and Frantz earned snagged 7,200. Incumbent Dan White was edged out of the three seats at nearly 6,400 votes.
Loren Rehmar, the head election judge at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, said nearly 1,200 voters had walked through the doors by 6:30 p.m.
“That’s very high,” he said. “About 80 percent [of registered voter turnout].”
Many had opinions on some of the higher-profile races, but not every voter picked candidates all the way down the ballot. Sometimes, the Prior Lake-Savage Area School Board race – a contest between eight candidates for three seats – got the shaft.
“I wasn’t as informed as I needed to be, and I had trouble finding information,” Elissa Aggen said. It was easier to research the other representatives in higher-profile races. She couldn’t find as much information online about candidates Jonathan Drewes, Melissa Enger, Mary Frantz, Juan Macias, Chad Rittenour, Lee Shimek, Josh Welch and Dan White.
Other voters said that they picked candidates based on the limited information they did have.
“I only knew Chad Rittenour and Josh Welch,” Kori Eastman said after she cast her ballot. “Those two, I was aware of. It would have been nice to know more about the rest of them.”
At least one voter – who wished to remain anonymous – picked candidates White and Shimek based on experience. White, Enger and Rittenour are all incumbents, and Shimek is bidding for a return to the board after many years of service.
Other voters picked their school board candidates based on very specific issues.
“I really want the next referendum to pass,” Angel Maldonado III said. “That’s what’s driving my vote.” He chose candidates Lee Shimek and Juan Macias.
Other voters were excited to cast ballots. Deonna Tate, 18, was eager to see the results come in.
“I like the suspense,” she said.
That excitement was present especially in some of the younger citizens filling out ballots for Kids Voting. Not much could be said, however, for their specific opinions on school board candidates.
“I can’t remember who I voted for,” William Brooks, 10, said. “I don’t even know who they are.”
Robert Aggen, 8, skipped the school board vote altogether. He was more excited to vote for his favorite presidential candidate. As for the back of the ballot: “I don’t know about that stuff,” he said.
If there’s one sentiment that a lot of voters had in common, it was “relief.” Relief that they managed to get to the polls on time, relief that they’d made a decision, relief that this whole election saga might soon be behind them.
“I feel relief now that it’s over,” Samantha Sittlow said. She’d voted down the whole ballot – a lot of bubbles to fill, she said, and a lot of last-minute research. She wanted to keep her candidate choices to herself.
“I’m just glad it’s the last day,” Dave Drentlaw said after he voted, “With all that media hype.”
And the general consensus of post-election plans: head home, grab a drink and wait anxiously for results.
“I’m ready for my wine,” Eastman said.
Read more at the Prior Lake American: http://www.swnewsmedia.com/prior_lake_american/news/election/district-elects-enger-frantz-shimek/article_0d81f767-7adb-55b5-b974-000c19f2141c.html