By Anna Jauhola
One person from the public voiced concern last week over Kittson Central School District setting polling places should there be a special election.
Ken Urbaniak, of Kennedy, said he saw in the Enterprise the school board approved two combined polling places during its October meeting. During the Wednesday, Nov. 23 board meeting, he asked why this has to happen.
“Every year, every school district is required to set a combined polling place in the event there’s a special election,” Jaszczak said. “For example, if a school board member went off the board, they moved away, and we had an opening on the board.”
“That’s not the problem,” Urbaniak said. “The problem is everybody in this school district votes by mail, except the people in Hallock. I think that should be approved by mail-in voting. I don’t think the board has a right to go against what the citizens want.”
The two polling places for the Kittson Central School District are in Hallock and Kennedy. These are the northern and southern portions of the district, respectively. The last time the district voters went to the polls like this was around 2016 to vote on a referendum to build the auditorium. Urbaniak remembers that election day well as he went to Kennedy’s polling place and was unable to vote.
“None of the judges knew me. I don’t know where they were from and I didn’t know them either,” he said. “But about half the people walked out of there and didn’t get to vote because we had to show proof. … If you’re not going to put people in there that know what’s going on, we don’t get to vote, that’s against our constitutional rights.”
He said the judges asked for identification, so he went home to get his driver’s license and when he presented that to the election judge, “she says, ‘It doesn’t look like you.’” He asked why the district can’t just allow its voters to vote by mail-in ballot.
Jaszczak said by state statute the district has to designate combined polling places. However, he will do some checking with the Minnesota School Board Association to find out why this is a requirement and whether a district can instead go to mail-in balloting for special elections.
In other business, the board:
• Approved hiring Brady Martz temporarily to handle payroll services during a 12-week period starting the end of February while Business Manager Amanda Younggren is on maternity leave. The cost is $6,180, which includes a $1,000 set-up fee, a $780 fee each time payroll is completed, and a quarterly submission cost of $500.
• Heard from Jaszczak the overpayment from the county last year of $163,000 will be evened out this year with a $1,600 payment.
• Approved hiring Korey Soliah, a Kittson Central graduate, as a paraprofessional.
• Approved the annual World’s Best Workforce summary for the 2021-22 academic year.
By Anna Jauhola