Special election for Senate Seat is Jan. 3

Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

The special election to fill the seat of State Sen. Tom Neuville (R-Northfield) will be held Thursday, Jan. 3, in District 25.

Neuville resigned his senate seat in late November after Gov. Tim Pawlenty named him a judge in the Third Judicial District.

Three candidates -all from Northfield -will be on the ballot: Former State Representative Ray Cox is the Republican candidate. He received his party's endorsement and went on to win a three-way primary on December 18. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor party has endorsed Kevin Dahle, a teacher in the Northfield district, while the Independence Party has endorsed Vance Norgaard, an organic farmer and former business owner.

District 25 includes all of Le Sueur County, northwestern Rice County, south-central and southwestern Scott County and eastern Sibley County.

Profiles of the three candidates can be found in a separate story.

What's at stake?

The winner of Thursday's election will serve the final three years of Neuville's term. Neuville was first elected to the senate in 1990, and reelected in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2006. The seat will be up for election again in 2010.

This seat is considered an important one because if the Democrats win, it would give them a veto-proof majority in the senate, meaning there are enough Democrats in the senate to override any bill vetoed by Gov. Pawlenty.

Polling places

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the day of the election. Polling places in the New Prague area include:

Le Sueur County: City of New Prague: New Prague Memorial Library, 400 East Main St.; Derrynane Township: Derrynane Town Hall, 31225 249th Lane; Lanesburgh Township: Lanesburgh Town Hall, 31498 State Hwy 13.

The City of Heidelberg in Le Sueur County will distribute ballots by mail to all registered voters. Ballots must be returned to the Le Sueur County Auditor's Office, 88 Park Ave. S., in Le Center, either by mail, in person or by a designated party, by 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3. Residents of Heidelberg who want to register on election day can do so at the Le Sueur County Auditor's office, 88 Park Ave., S, in Le Center, and vote there.

Scott County: City of New Prague - New Prague City Hall, 118 Central Ave. N; Belle Plaine Township: Belle Plaine Town Garage, 25130 Hickory Blvd. (Co. Rd. 5); Helena Township: St. Benedict School, 24981 St. Benedict Rd. (Co Rds. 11 & 4); Cedar Lake Township: St. Patrick Social Hall, 24425 Old Hwy 13 Blvd.

Rice County: City of Lonsdale: Lonsdale City Hall Council Chambers, 415 Central St. W.; Wheatland Township: Wheatland Town Hall, 9788 50th St. W (Veseli); Webster Township: Webster Town Hall, 4020 Delano Ave.

Voters must be 18 years of age or older and registered to vote in their district. They can register at the polls on the day of the election.

Absentee ballots

Those wishing to vote by absentee ballot should contact their county auditor or county election official to make arrangements. In Scott County call 952-496-8560, in Le Sueur County call 507-357-2251 and in Rice County call 507-332-6104. Information is also available on the website of the Minnesota Secretary of State, at www.sos.state.mn.us.

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