Publisher’s Perspective

By Tim Douglass, Publisher of the Pope County Tribune

Did anyone know there was an election coming up?

Well, the General Election is set for Nov. 8 of this year and voters will decide on all state offices.  Because of redistricting in 2020, the legislative districts have changed slightly and voters are encouraged check the Minnesota Secretary of State website where readers  can view who is on the ballot in any specific precinct.

The reason we bring up elections at this point is because starting this Friday, Sept. 23 Minnesota residents can vote early.

Although many of us vote in person on Election Day,  Minnesota residents can vote early with an absentee ballot starting 46 days before Election Day. This year, that means residents can begin voting this Friday Sept. 23.

Pope County voters can request an absentee ballot online for federal, state, and county elections.  To request a ballot online visit 

Local voters can also vote in person early at the Auditor-Treasurer’s office in the Pope County Courthouse.   The election official for Pope County is Auditor-Treasurer Stephanie Rust.  Her office can be accessed by phone at 320-634-7706 or by email at  Residents can also register to vote at the Auditor-treasurers office.  

In Minnesota, voters can also register at their polling place on Election Day.

Registered voters in Pope County who reside in a “Mail Ballot Precinct” will automatically receive their ballots in the mail, according to Pope County Auditor-Treasurer Stephanie Rust.  

The Pope County Tribune will be publishing information on local candidates in October of this year.  That information will include questionnaires for candidates in local races such as Minnewaska Area School Board, city and county elections and local state races.

Some facts and fiction when it comes to Minnesota elections, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State office follow.  Minnesota voters are among the nation’s best when it comes to voting.  And, our elections are accurate.  For more, visit 

FACT: Every ballot cast in Minnesota is associated with a registered, eligible voter.

When someone registers to vote in Minnesota, they must prove that they are who they say they are and that they live where they say they live. There are many ways provided in state law to be able to show that proof. All voter registrations are verified with records from DVS (driver’s licenses), the Social Security Administration, and other data.

Before any ballot goes to a voter — whether by mail or in person — they must swear an oath that they are eligible to vote and acknowledge that it is a felony to falsify information on their registration.

FICTION: There are discrepancies and mismatches between ballots cast and registered voters.

One of the most common forms of disinformation claims to use voter data to show that somehow the numbers of ballots and voters don’t add up. These claims are entirely false. They’re all based on misuse of data and are intended to destroy faith in our election system.  

FACT: Electronic voting equipment is the accurate, timely way to determine election results.

Electronic tabulators — the machines where voters place their ballots in the polling place — are proven to be far more accurate and efficient than any other method of tabulating election results. 

Voters have confidence that the machines are tabulating correctly because they are tested for accurate performance, both before and after Election Day, and the process and results of which are available to the public.