Expecting large turnout, election officials call Minnesota primary 'historic'

Election officials are calling this year’s primary elections historic and record-setting, with voters already sending in thousands of absentee ballots and polls expected to be busy on Tuesday.

That means it’s crunch time for candidates and voters in Minnesota, with several key seats in the state up for grabs.

“We have surpassed the number of total votes cast by early voting in the primary of 2014, 2016 and even last year in the municipal elections,” said Grace Wachlarowicz, Director of Elections & Voter Services for Minneapolis. 

In fact, in Minneapolis, more than 14,000 absentee ballots have been received - that's 10,000 more than the 2016 presidential election.

National pundits say Minnesota could be a battleground state in the fight own control over the House - which explains the level of competition this season.

"Four or five of Minnesota’s eighth congressional seats are very competitive so the outcome of these races could determine which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives come November," said Kathryn Pearson, a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota.

That competition can be seen among the gubernatorial hopefuls on the DFL ticket who made their final campaign pushes Monday, with Tim Walz showing up at Como Park High School football practice and Erin Murphy rallying around supporters in Apple Valley. 

“People in Minnesota care, and they come out,” Wachlarowicz said. “Every year, every election, we’re breaking records more and more. It’s just so hard to read, we have nothing to compare it to. It’s just growing and growing."  

As you prepare for the primary, remember Minnesota is not a state where you have to declare your political party when you register. So, when you show up at the polls, you’ll pick a side – republican or democrat – and you’ll have to stick with that side for all races.

If you need to find out where you're supposed to vote or who is on the ballot, you can visit mnvotes.org.