There was a lot of discussion in the weeks and months
leading up to today’s Primary Election that the option of voting absentee or by
mail would be the preferred option for many more voters due to the COVID-19
pandemic and the wish for some to avoid the lines often associated with polling
As of Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 11), the Wright County Auditor/Treasurer’s
Office has received 4,286 ballots at the Wright County Government Center – a combination
of both absentee and mail-in ballots.
To put that number into perspective, in the 2016
Primary Election, Wright County accepted just 320 absentee/mail ballots. In
2018, the county set a record with 1,617 accepted primary ballots – a figure
much higher than normal and credited to the primary including a contested race
for Wright County Sheriff.
All of the ballots that have already been received
will be processed today and included in the vote totals that are available on
the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.
Elections Supervisor Corissa Aronson explained how the
process of tabulating and reporting votes will go from there.
“We are reporting our preliminary results tonight with
all the other Election Day results – whatever has been processed to this point,”
Aronson said. “Anything that comes in the mail or by delivery service that is
postmarked on or before Election Day that comes in Wednesday or Thursday we
will be processing. Those will be added and, when we close out on Thursday, we
will be uploading the final results.”
The only additional ballots that will be accepted will
be the few that trickle in over the next two days. She anticipates that the
final numbers will be submitted to the state by the end of business Thursday.
However, the votes won’t be finalized until Friday,
when the election canvassing board, which includes County Commissioners
Christine Husom and Mark Daleiden, reviews and certifies the vote. Such a practice
is part of every election cycle, not specific to the new normal of life with COVID-19.
“Votes are never official until the canvassing board
meets, which will be Friday (Aug. 14),” Aronson said. “This isn’t anything new.
It’s always been that way.”
It’s unclear if voting in the future will mirror the
kind of record-setting numbers of those who vote outside of a polling place on
Election Day for this year’s primary, but one thing that is clear is that Wright
County residents took their right to vote seriously, even if it meant voting
absentee or by mail.