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A shot in the arm

As people bustled around town on Election Day exercising their right to vote, some ran errands while others protected themselves from the flu by getting shots at polling station clinics.

As people bustled around town on Election Day exercising their right to vote, some ran errands while others protected themselves from the flu by getting shots at polling station clinics.

The overriding sentiment among voters was that it was important to be sure to do the right thing and vote, our duty as Americans, they said.

A few voting places in the area were staffed to serve two different wards, such as Phoenix Elementary and the Grand Forks Public Library.

Linda Whicker, the precinct inspector at Phoenix Elementary, said voting had been steady throughout the day. She expected a rush after 5 p.m. when people get off of work. She was able to vote with an absentee ballot so she could be stationed at Phoenix on Election Day. Whicker feels strongly about voting.

"I firmly believe in the privilege to vote. It's very precious."


There was no wait at the voting booths at Phoenix for voter Laura Frisch from Grand Forks, who was particularly interested in the Shared Parenting Initiative on the ballot. She was impressed with the clarity of the ballot because she has voted in other states and found other ballots could be quite confusing. Like others, Frisch said, "It is our responsibility to vote."

Vote and vax

Across town at the Public Works Department, Mayor Michael Brown was the first "patient" among many to utilize the drive-through flu shot clinic.

Grand Forks Public Health was able to hold the drive-through clinic on Election Day with a grant they received from the Robert Wood Foundation. The foundation gave out 26 grants out of about 350 applicants according to Kathy Dunn, immunization program manager at Grand Forks Public Health.

Combining vaccinations with Election Day has been successful in several other communities, so Dunn was happy they were able to pass on the convenience to the community. She said they are able to reach many more people on election night, and it would not have worked without the help from so many in the community.

"We want people to make a healthy choice this winter and choose to get vaccinated," Dunn said.

Grand Forks Police officers were on hand to direct traffic and Grand Forks firefighters were there to monitor the carbon monoxide levels as cars passed through the building.

Paul Slusar drove through the clinic with his mom, Maxine Docker, and while they enjoyed the donuts after getting the shot, it was the convenience of the clinic that attracted them to it.


Billie Kellar, a resident of Grand Forks, voted at the Public Works Department.

"I hope that today my vote will count," she said. "It is important that we show our continued support for our Democratic congressmen."

EGF voters

In East Grand Forks at Our Savior's Lutheran Church, voters seemed most interested in the race for governor as well as the East Grand Forks Public School referendum.

Desiree and Todd Jevning felt that the referendum was important to the School District. Todd Jevning said he was in favor of the Minnesota transportation amendment. He said the additional vehicle tax for the roads and bridges was a good idea.

Matsimela Changa Diop, assistant vice president for multicultural student services at UND, was reflective on the importance of voting "because that is how people can make a difference." He said the political arena has become even more corrupt and we, as a society, need to "look at our human values, look at our society and really think about who we put into office."

For others, control of Congress was a major issue.

"It's important to keep Republicans in control of Congress to show continued support for the war in Iraq," said Jane Pape. In the past she has voted more independently, but this year she felt that the Democrats haven't offered solutions to problems.


She predicted that Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, would pull off a win after the polls closed.

Turnout good

A few light sprinkles did not deter voters, and mild temperatures throughout the day encouraged them to put freedom into action by walking up to their neighborhood voting booth and casting a ballot.

Susan Larson, Gilby, N.D., election inspector, said her polling station definitely had more people than normal for a midterm election year.

She said the numbers were just short of a presidential election. She said there are usually about 225 voters at her station for a presidential election, and Tuesday she had 194. Some people still were trying to vote a half-hour after the 7 p.m. closing.

"We had to turn people away," she said.

Kyle Johnson contributed to this report. Reach Nagel at (701) 780-1262, (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or anagel@gfherald.com .

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