Voting goes smoothly Tuesday in Kandiyohi County

West Central Tribune staffers visited several polling places Tuesday in Kandiyohi County and found voters happy with the pandemic safety precautions and the pace of the in-person voting process.

Voter Randy Schunk, left, is handed his ballot by assistant head election judge Laura Dilley through a cough-and-sneeze guard Tuesday on Election Day at the Ward 2 Precinct 2 polling location at Vinje Church in Willmar. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Voting sites reported seeing an influx of people this morning, with election judges saying hundreds of people voted Tuesday morning.

By Tuesday afternoon, the lines had petered out but a steady stream of voters continued through polling sites in a relatively smooth process, something that election judge Sally McAdams credits to new iPads judges are using this year.

“It lets one person do the job of two to three people,” McAdams said.

Voters who spoke to the West Central Tribune also spoke favorably of the process and the pandemic safety precautions.

“I had a great experience,” said Kelsey Olson at the New London Township Hall. “The line went really quickly. The staff was really organized and I felt very safe voting in person here today.”


Julie Olson, 33, of Willmar, who voted in Ward 2, Precinct 2, said she voted in-person because it was easier.

“I felt safe and wasn’t worried about the virus since everyone was following all the precautions,” Olson said.

Donald Trump won New London by almost 30 points in 2016 and the voters who spoke to the West Central Tribune continued to show support for the president.

“I just think he’s done a lot of good for our country,” New London voter Sam Romain said. “Our GDP’s up, we have school choice, he’s reducing medicine cost, the only president not to bring us into a new war in the last 50 years, I could go on and on, but I think he’s doing a lot of good for this country.”

Sam Romain voted Tuesday for Trump at the New London Township Hall in Kandiyohi County. “He’s doing a lot of good for our country.” Carolyn Lange / West Central Tribune

Kandiyohi County went for Trump by almost 25 points and he barely lost the entire state by less than 2 points in 2016 but his support in Minnesota polls this year has not been as strong.

Will Sordahl, a special education teacher in Willmar, said he came out to vote as his civic duty Tuesday outside his polling place, the Word of Faith Church in northwest Willmar. Linda Vanderwerf / West Central Tribune

Willmar special education teacher Will Sordahl, 36, voted shortly after noon in the city's Ward 1, Precinct 3. He didn't mention specific issues but said he voted as his "civic duty."


Randy Schunk, 38, of Willmar, said he voted for Trump at Ward 2, Precinct 2.

“I guess I would say I don’t have Democratic views,” Schunk, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor, said. "From what I’ve seen from the Democrats, I just don’t have the same outlook on life.”

Eric Meza, 21, of Willmar, voted for Joe Biden at Ward 3, Precinct 3. He said racism and social issues were the most important issues for him this election cycle.

“The person that’s in office right now doesn’t stand for the right things. I don’t think he’s a good person,” Meza, who works at T-Mobile, said. “I’m Mexican. I’ve taken the things that Trump has said about Mexican people to heart.”

Fathia Sabri, 35, Willmar, who also voted at Ward 3, Precinct 3, said she voted for Biden because he respects Muslim people.

“I’m voting for my kids' futures,” Sabri, who has four kids, said.

Fathia Sabri, 35, of Willmar, voted for Biden for president. "He respects Muslim people. I’m voting for my kids' futures.” Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

Dillon Ledeboer, 18, Willmar, said he voted for Trump at Ward 3, Precinct 2, and that his most important issues this election were the economy and defending the police.


“I’m voting for Trump. I believe in his cause. He’s made a lot of good decisions.”

Jaden Wright, 24, of Willmar, voted straight Democrat at Ward 3, Precinct 3, with the exception of voting for Rep. Dave Baker, a Republican running for re-election to the Minnesota House in District 17B.

Wright’s first choice for president was Pete Buttigieg but he voted for Biden “for lack of a better option.”

Jaden Wright, 24, of Willmar, said this is the first presidential election in which he's voted. He voted almost straight Democrat with the exception of Dave Baker who's a Republican running for re-election to the Minnesota House in District 17B. Mark Wasson / West Central Tribune

Sandra Jackson, 69, said several issues brought her out to vote in Willmar Ward 1, Precinct 3.

She voted for Joe Biden and health care was one of her major concerns.


Sandra Jackson, of Willmar, said she voted for Joe Biden when she cast her ballot at the Word of Faith Church in northwest Willmar. The coronavirus was a major concern for her, Jackson said. Linda Vanderwerf / West Central Tribune

"I’m scared of the virus; I’m concerned about the virus," she said. "I’m scared about Black lives. I know Black lives matter, but it scares me about the riots."

Wendy Kolling, of Pennock, who works as a beautician, said she's voted "ever since I could."

She declined to say how she voted. "For me, it’s always the same thing, protecting the rights that we do have. I don’t believe in a big government, but that’s growing regardless."

Ward 1, Precinct 1, in Willmar saw a quiet end to a long day of voting with 380 ballots collected by polling close at 8 p.m., then to be brought to county officials for counting, along with more than 200 absentee ballots.

Co-head election judge Carl Shuldes said they keep close tabs on the ballots they have versus what the ballot machine records to make sure they don’t run into any problems at the end of the night.

Overall, Shuldes said the voting process was civil despite warnings that rabble rousers might cause some election headaches.

“There was a worry that people would be wearing masks, wearing MAGA shirts, riding the Biden train,” Shuldes said. “There was nothing.”


According to Minnesota statute, voters are not allowed to wear political attire to polling sites.

Carolyn Lange, Erica Dischino and Linda Vanderwerf contributed to this story.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at
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