Weather Forecast


Turnout for primary highest in Minn. in a decade

Sandy Fernelius of Willmar casts her vote Monday at Vinje Lutheran Church in Willmar. The secretary of state is reporting 589,814 of an eligible 3,806,763 Minnesotans cast votes in Tuesday's primary election. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

WILLMAR -- The unofficial voter turnout in Tuesday's primary in Minnesota was 15.5 percent, the highest turnout since 2000, according to the Secretary of State.

"Despite heat, hu-midity and severe we-ather, Minnesotans made sure their voices were heard," said Secretary of State Mark Ritchie in a news release. "While turnout in primaries is always lower than general elections, turnout exceeded all expectations and made this earlier primary a big success.

Excellent coverage by the media plus spirited campaigning in the DFL Governor's race were two of the major factors in this unexpectedly high turnout."

There were 3,806,763 eligible voters and 589,814 voters cast ballots Tuesday unofficially. This figure includes a record number of absentee ballots, more than 31,000.

The number of voters is unofficial until the state Canvassing Board certifies the county reports on Tuesday.

These totals will continue to change as reporting is completed from St. Louis and Carlton counties and updated results are posted for Wright County where electronic transmission difficulties were experienced, the news release said.

The turnout in 2000 was 17.19 percent. The lowest turnout in recent years was 7.73 percent in 2004.

The turnout in other recent primaries was as follows: 11.26 percent in 2008, 14.02 percent in 2006 and 15.23 percent turnout in 2002.

The Secretary of State had announced early in the week that the number of absentee ballots was a record in two decades of state primaries.

The unofficial number of absentee ballots as of Wednesday afternoon was 31,112.