Early voting tumbles ahead of Minnesota's primary Tuesday

The surge of Minnesotans voting early in 2020 turned out to be a one-time event.

Absentee voting has tumbled ahead of Tuesday's primary back to 2018 levels. As of 10 a.m. Monday, election officials had accepted 128,872 mail and in-person absentee ballots out of 263,795 requested. At this point in the 2020 primary, 423,032 ballots had been accepted out of 637,463 requested.

Early voting spiked in 2020 thanks to a combination of political enthusiasm and an interest in avoiding public places during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Now that we’re not in that same position anymore, we have a vaccine, we have different protocols, my gut tells me it’s mostly a result of being in a different place with COVID-19, that we’re not going to see as many people wanting to vote from home," said Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat who is running for re-election this fall but does not face a competitive primary.

Count Minnesota's top election official as one who prefers voting in-person on the day of the election. 

Simon said he'll vote Tuesday as he traditionally did before the pandemic.