Voter turnout for Minneapolis municipal election highest in decades

At least 43 percent of voters turned out in this year’s municipal election.

Election judge Mikki Murray speaks with sophomore Melissa Riepe at Weisman Art Museum on Tuesday, Nov. 7 in Minneapolis. Reipe voted for Raymond Dehn, saying she liked his platform page and he seemed the most educated. Murray has been a volunteer election judge since Obamas first presidential election.

Ellen Schmidt

Election judge Mikki Murray speaks with sophomore Melissa Riepe at Weisman Art Museum on Tuesday, Nov. 7 in Minneapolis. Reipe voted for Raymond Dehn, saying she liked his platform page and he seemed the most educated. Murray has been a volunteer election judge since Obama’s first presidential election.

by Rilyn Eischens

High voter turnout for the Minneapolis municipal elections Tuesday caused ballot shortages and voting slowdowns at some polling locations. 

Turnout reached about 43 percent, the highest rate in two decades, according to the city of Minneapolis. Election workers at some polling places resorted to photocopying blank ballots when they ran out of official documents near poll close.

About 106,000 ballots were cast during the race, and about 90 percent of those in-person Tuesday, according to the Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services Division.

The Minneapolis Early Voting Center received a record 11,804 ballots in advance of Election Day this year, according to the city of Minneapolis. 

Between Wards 2, 3 and 6, where many University students live, nearly 5,800 ballots were accepted by the Early Voting Center. 

This marks a 10 percent overall increase from 2013, when about 80,000 residents voted, according to city of Minneapolis voter data.

At 8 p.m. — poll close — five precincts encountered ballot shortages as a result of high turnout and large numbers of spoiled ballots, according to the Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services Division.

Election workers photocopied ballots so those in line could still vote Tuesday. However, tabulators can’t process photocopies, meaning election judges will need to duplicate the copies on official ballot forms, according to the Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services Division.

Some wards saw especially heightened voter turnout in advance of the election. Ward 6 — which encompasses Cedar-Riverside, Seward and surrounding neighborhoods — broke its own record for absentee voting by Oct. 19, when 2,607 absentee ballots had been tallied.