Twin Cities prepare for Election Day

Thousands of Minneapolis voters have passed through the city's Early Vote Center the past few weeks and the last day of early voting was no exception.

City Clerk Casey Carl projects turnout will at least match the last municipal election.

“In terms of total turnout, looking at 33 to 40 percent,” said Carl. “In 2013, we achieved a 33 percent total turnout for the entire election. We're certainly on track to hit that again this year.”

Minneapolis reported more than 11,000 ballots were accepted as of Monday night.

In St. Paul, officials project around a 25 percent overall turnout and six percent of registered voters have already cast ballots

“It is now easier to come in and vote prior to Election Day,” said Joe Mansky, Ramsey County Elections Manager. “The Legislature over the last couple of years has eased some of the requirements to vote prior to Election Day.” 

Candidates in both cities are not taking those early votes for granted. They took their messages over the airwaves Saturday night for St. Paul and Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis. 

Hamline University political science professor David Schultz says there's no polling in either mayor's race, but the dynamics in Minneapolis favor the incumbent, Betsy Hodges.

“It's all over the map,” said Schultz. “Definitely Hodges seems to me among the three people who are being ranked, which again seems to favor her, especially if she's getting that second ranking.”

The St. Paul mayoral race was rocked by the backlash from a flier sent out by the now-disbanded third party group, Build a Better St. Paul, that targeted former council member Melvin Carter. 

“I thought it was going to shift it to Carter,” said Schultz. “That was almost 10 days ago, a political eternity, so I think slightly the chance is for Harris.”

No matter who finishes first in the crowded field on Election Day, Minnesotans likely won't know the result in St. Paul for several days due to ranked choice voting.

“This looks like the first time we'll have to go to reallocation for the winner,” said Mansky.

St. Paul will begin counting those votes by hand on Thursday evening, so it may the weekend before a winner is determined in St. Paul.

Minneapolis officials will start the count Wednesday morning if no candidate gets a majority and hope to have a result by the end of the day.

The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.