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Election Day brings historic choice for Mitchell voters

Mitchell voters will choose a mayor, two school board members and decide how people will drive on three streets during today's election. They will also be among voters in state Senate District 20 (Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties) who will se...

City of Mitchell polling places map
Within the city of Mitchell, voters who reside in the blue-shaded area will vote at L.B. Williams Elementary School today. Voters who reside in the green-shaded area within the city will vote at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary School. (Graphic by Chris Huber/Republic)

Mitchell voters will choose a mayor, two school board members and decide how people will drive on three streets during today's election.

They will also be among voters in state Senate District 20 (Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties) who will select a Republican candidate and will take part in a statewide vote to choose a Democratic candidate for the state's sole House seat. The Republican candidate for Davison County treasurer will also be picked by GOP voters and will likely become treasurer, since no Democrat or independent has filed to run for the office.

The six candidates for mayor are believed to be a record for Mitchell.

John Claggett, Roger Haley, Becky Haslam, Jerry Toomey, Ken Tracy and Tara Volseky are vying for a chance to follow Lou Sebert in the mayor's chair. Sebert did not seek a third term.

There are four openings on the Mitchell City Council, but all four were one-man races and will not appear on the ballot. Councilmen Jeff Smith, Marty Barington and Mel Olson will return to office and newcomer Randy Doescher will take office in July. Doescher will succeed Travis Carpenter, who did not seek re-election.

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A council decision made last fall to convert three city streets from one-way traffic to two-way was referred to a vote of the people. The future direction of Second, Third and Fourth avenues will be decided today by voters, with a "yes" vote supporting the change to two-way traffic and a "no" vote to keep the streets as one-ways.

School board incumbents Theresa Kriese and Neil G. Putnam are being challenged by Craig A. Guymon and J. Edward Potzler.

County Treasurer Brenda Veldheer faces her former employee, Christie Gunkel, in the Republican primary. There is no Democratic candidate and an independent candidate has only until 5 p.m. today to file to appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

In the District 20 state Senate primary, Sen. Mike Vehle seeks the Republican Party's nomination against challenger Steve Sibson, who ran against him as an independent in the general election in 2010.

There are 35 state House districts, which each elect two House members, and 35 Senate districts, which elect one senator.

According to Secretary of State Jason Gant, there will be 30 legislative primaries across the state today.

There are Republican primaries in 12 of the 35 Senate districts and 15 of the 35 House districts. There are Democratic primaries in three of the 35 House districts.

Although former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination, his name and the names of three former challengers -- Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul -- will still be on the South Dakota ballot for Republicans.

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President Obama was not challenged for the Democratic nomination, so his name will not be on the ballot.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Only Republicans can vote in the GOP primary, while both Democrats and independents can vote in the Democratic primary.

Davison County Auditor Susan Kiepke predicts a 40 percent turnout of registered voters, higher than the forecast for the state, with Gant saying 25 to 30 percent will go to the polls today.

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