• 18°

Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

To increased absentee voting in Freeborn County.

The Freeborn County auditor-treasurer earlier this week said the county had received 4,500 absentee ballots — almost double the amount received in the last presidential election in 2016. As of Friday, 44% of Albert Lea voters had also already voted via absentee.

We hope these numbers showcase what will be an even higher-than-normal voter turnout.

In 2016, about 90% of Freeborn County residents eligible to vote cast their ballots during the general election, while in 2012, that number was 93.71%.

If you haven’t voted yet, we encourage you to make arrangements to do so.

If you already have your ballot, you can drop it off in-person at the Freeborn County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office or in the drop box in the lobby of the law enforcement entrance of the Freeborn County courthouse. The Auditor-Treasurer advised people not to mail them at this point.

Absentee ballots must be turned into the Auditor-Treasurer’s Office by 3 p.m. Tuesday, and mail ballots must be turned in by 8 p.m.

On Election Day, Albert Lea voters, along with those in Freeman, Hayward, Newry and Riceland townships who are wishing to vote in-person, must go to their precincts to do so. People in mail ballot precincts who wish to vote in-person must go to the Auditor-Treasurer’s Office.

If there’s any question about where to go, call the Auditor-Treasurer’s Office at 377-5121.

Let your voice be heard.


To the organizations that have offered safe Halloween alternatives for children.

Hats off to the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau, Main Street Albert Lea, First Lutheran Church, Salem Lutheran Church, Hy-Vee, Albert Lea Vineyard Church and Our Father’s House, which have planned alternatives for eager children to enjoy for Halloween.

Many of these events are drive-thru, allowing people to still social distance, and the others are encouraging other precautions.

Though Halloween will surely be different this year, we hope children and families can still have fun in some form.

To those who are still trick-or-treating, please take extra precautions to protect yourselves and those you come in contact with.


To another COVID-19 death in Freeborn County and increasing COVID-19 cases.

We were saddened to hear local and state health officials announce Thursday Freeborn County had its fifth reported COVID-19 death.

The death was a person in their early 80s and was one of 32 reported that day across the state.

Waseca County also reported another death — this time of a person in their early 60s. Its new death marked the 10th death in that county.

In addition to high deaths, the state had a record Friday for the highest new daily case count seen during the pandemic with 3,165 new cases.

We encourage people to continue to take the safety measures encouraged by health officials, including wearing masks, washing hands regularly and social distancing.

The state and the county have seen increases in the last few weeks in both cases and hospitalizations, and everyone must do their part in bringing these numbers down.


To the winding down of construction on Bridge Avenue for the season.

It has been a long construction season for Albert Lea residents with roadwork on one of the city’s most important thoroughfares: Bridge Avenue.

With the road closed since June, Freeborn County Engineer Phil Wacholz this week said Bridge Avenue is expected to reopen the week of Thanksgiving, with paving slated to be complete by Nov. 11.

We recognize the burden this project has placed on residents within this construction area and note the effect any construction project places on the neighboring properties.

We remind people, however, of how badly this road needed to be reconstructed and of the benefit this will be to the community once it is completed.

Hang in there. There’s only a few more weeks to go.