Deep in the basement of City Hall, officials are preparing for Chaska’s first special election in nearly a decade.
There are three ballot machines and stacks of envelopes, sample ballots and absentee ballot applications — all for Chaska’s special election on May 14. So far, the city has sent out 31 absentee ballots applications since absentee voting started on March 29. Ten have been returned to City Hall, according to Communications Manager Kevin Wright.
City Clerk Denise Wetzel, who has been heading up election duties, said that while voting has been slow, she expects it to speed up closer to Election Day.
“So far, it’s been good, we didn’t have to send any absentee ballots back to make sure they don’t have to re-vote again,” Wetzel said. “I think we’ll have more direct balloting.”
There are four people running for Chaska City Council. Ward 2 candidates are Taylor Hubbard and Councilor Nate Bostrom, who was appointed in late February and those vying for the Ward 4 seat are Maggie O’Connor and Councilor Mike Huang, who was appointed in November 2018.
The last special election in the city was in 2010 for the mayor’s seat, between now-Mayor Mark Windschitl and former councilor Jay Rohe.
To prepare for the special election, the city had to purchase supplies for absentee voting, such as special envelopes issued by the Minnesota Secretary of State, Wetzel said. Usually, the Carver County Elections Center counts absentee ballots and programs the counting machines, but since it’s a special election it’s up to the city to cover those duties.
In all there will be 16 people working the election.
Ward 2 will likely be the busier voting station. Last election, there were 3,657 ballots cast in that ward, compared to 2,838 in Ward 4.
“We hope to have a big turnout, but it all depends on the voters,” Wetzel said.
Read our Q&A with the candidates here: