Joe Biden took more than half of all Becker County DFL votes cast in the presidential primary Tuesday, March 3, on his way to winning the state.

With all Becker precincts reporting, Biden collected 1,120 votes (51%) for a convincing win over second-place finisher Bernie Sanders with 440 votes (19%).

Coming in third was Amy Klobuchar with 211 votes (nearly 10%), even though she dropped out of the race on Monday.

Elizabeth Warren got 188 votes (9%) to muscle fourth place away from Michael Bloomberg, with 187 votes.

On the Republican side, President Donald Trump received 1,201 votes and there were 23 write-in votes.

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Trump was the only name on the Republican ballot so, not surprisingly, DFL voters outnumbered Republicans by about two to one in the primary. Voter turnout was just under 18% in Becker County, and that was apparent throughout the day at polling places.

Turnout was “sort of steady all day long” in the Detroit Lakes Ward 2 precinct, according to election judge Roger Josephson. “It’s been fairly slow, but probably more than what we had expected."

“We had four people in line once,” said election judge Jim Sinclair, adding with a laugh, “that was our rush.”

Josephson said that in general, there seemed to be “more interest on the Democratic side than the Republican,” due to the fact that there were several candidates to choose from instead of just one.

It was the first presidential primary election in Minnesota since 1992. Votes were held at party caucuses prior to this year.

The presidential primary was somewhat controversial in that voters had to declare a party preference to get a ballot. The information goes to major party heads, who can do with it as they see fit.

Election judges at Detroit Lakes Ward 3 in First Lutheran Church had multiple voters comment about having to declare a party this year.

"(We've had) several comments on not liking the designation," said Brad Carlson, an election judge. "We've had people leave and not vote."

By midafternoon at Detroit Lakes Ward 1 in Grace Lutheran Church, only one person had objected to declaring their party affiliation prior to voting, and that person did so without complaint after the reason for it was explained.

“That person was kind of surprised, but not really upset,” Sharon Sinclair said, adding that the party declaration requirement had gone unquestioned by most voters. “Apparently the word has spread that this would happen.”

The election went as well as could be expected, said Becker County Auditor-Treasurer Mary Hendrickson. “We train about 300 election judges, these people basically volunteer their time, and we couldn’t do it without them,” she said.

The county will do another training July for the regular primary election, she said.

There’s a lot of work before, during and after each election. All election machines have to be reprogrammed prior to each election, and ballots proofed and printed. This special primary election is expected to cost about $70,000, money that Hendrickson hopes the state will reimburse to Becker County.

Tribune reporters Vicki Gerdes and Desiree Bauer contributed to this report.

Becker County results

Democratic presidential primary:

  • Joe Biden: 1,120 votes
  • Bernie Sanders: 440
  • Amy Klobuchar: 211
  • Elizabeth Warren: 188
  • Michael Bloomberg: 187
  • Pete Buttigieg: 26
  • Tulsi Gabbard: 11
  • Andrew Yang: 5
  • Tom Steyer: 4
  • John Delaney: 2
  • Julian Castro: 1
  • Uncommitted: 18

On the Republican side, President Donald Trump received 1,201 votes and there were 23 write-in votes.