Brown County Browser: Plenty for county to do before election

May has been an extremely busy month for the Elections Staff in the Auditor-Treasurer’s office. The month began with three and one- half days of required election training conducted by the Secretary of State’s office. The training covered every aspect of the election process. In addition, our first wave of new election equipment was delivered and our vendor conducted training on the operation of the new hardware/software that will be used in the 2018 elections. In addition, we had training on the poll books that will be introduced in our six largest polling locations in 2018. With the introduction of new election requirements and new equipment, staff needs to rework our processes and insure that election judges will be well versed in their responsibilities and insure that voters have a favorable experience voting and that the results are reported timely and accurately.

Now that filings have concluded, the election calendar will be moving full steam ahead. Preparations have begun for election judge training scheduled for June 28, 29 and July 10 & 11. If you are planning to serve as an election judge, it is required that you have two hours of training prior to the election. Please contact our office or your city/town clerk to register, if you have not done so.

On the scheduled training days, the new election equipment will be on display for the public to view as well. Judges that will be assigned to registering voters at the polling place will be notified for opportunities to familiarize themselves with how the poll pads work.

Voters who voted in the presidential election will be on the roster and will not have to register to vote. We encourage all others to check the status of your registration and update if necessary so that your name will appear on a roster, or in the case of a mail ballot precinct, that your ballot will automatically be mailed to you. Voter registration applications can be found on the county website or by contacting our office.

Our vote is our voice. Take time to insure that you are registered and then exercise your right to cast a ballot in the 2018 election. There will be many local and state races on the ballot and your participation in the process is important. In Minnesota, we offer mail balloting, same-day registration and the “no excuse” absentee balloting process provides easy access to the ballot box and should prompt strong voter turnout here in Brown County!

While it may seem that the focus of this office is on elections, know that we have a multitude of other projects in progress. Staff is gearing up for the implementation of a new tax system beginning in 2019. Establishing standards of operation and testing the product prior to implementation are the main tasks we will be addressing this year. Implementing a system that addresses all of the requirements of the Minnesota tax law is a daunting task.

The drainage team will be tasked with scanning all of the historical drainage documents into our Drainagedb program. This program will allow landowners to track any and all activity on their drainage system. Creating this transparency for the landowners is a priority and we were fortunate to obtain a grant to assist with this project. The county has scheduled the last of the county ditch redeterminations for 2018, and have begun discussions with counties that share our judicial systems to get the process of redetermination of benefits begun for those as well. It was the County Commissioners desire to complete the process as early as possible so that landowners who are required to plant buffers would be paid for the loss of productive farmland. Our viewers conduct two informal landowner meetings prior to the public hearing where the new benefits are finalized. These meetings are important to landowners to attend so that the landowners gain an understanding of the process and that the viewers are informed of any land that is tiled into a system. The benefits assigned to parcels at the public hearing will remain in effect for many years and it is our goal to have these established appropriately.

And not to be left out, the Financial Group within the office is in the process of implementing a Fixed Asset reporting system. This program will allow staff to track all of the assets for the financial statement and insurability.

This will be a challenging year, but my team is geared up to serve all of the residents of this county and insure that all your concerns are addressed.

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