Minnesota sees highest number of primary voters in over 3 decades

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Though primaries don’t often attract a lot of voters, Tuesday was quite a different story. 

Now, the Secretary of State and various voter organizations are gearing up for November by throwing the first pitch at the St. Paul Saints game and hosting a fall voter drive.

“People are interested in this, and the [League of Women Voters] is committed to going wherever we’re asked to help people register,” said Linda Feist with the league.

The group is trying to build on the momentum from Tuesday’s primary, which saw 902,000 voters head to the polls – the highest number since 1982. Overall voter turnout was approximately 22.7 percent, which is the highest it has been since 1992.

Minneapolis had a record-breaking number of primary voters with 93,534 people casting a ballot. The city also set a record for early voting. Nearly 15,000 absentee ballots were turned in before Aug. 14, which is the most absentee ballots ever received for a single primary in Minneapolis and nearly as much as the combined total of all the absentee ballots turned in from 1994 to 2014.

Secretary of State Steve Simon said that while some of the results came from more people accepting early voting, “the other piece is all that excitement out there on both sides of the aisle, particularly when it comes to competitive contests. It’s the same as sports, people like to show up for what’s going to be a competitive contest, the same for elections and they clearly did that yesterday.”

But historically, Simon said there’s not necessarily a straight line between a high primary turnout and a high general election turnout.

“My hunch is that there will be more or less a straight line. I sense out there on both sides of the aisle a real intensity and an interest; people are really paying attention. So, I would not at all be surprised if this November we also have very high turnout,” Simon said.