With less than two weeks remaining until the 2020 general election, Minnesota is shattering the record for absentee voting. Likely the result of the COVID-19 pandemic that is expected to keep many Minnesotans away from polling places, the numbers are impressive.
The Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office announced this morning that, as of Thursday, Oct. 22, a total of 1,186,522 Minnesotans have submitted absentee ballots that have been received by county election officials. That is almost double the previous record of 618,000 absentee ballots filled out in the 2016 presidential election.
The Secretary of State’s Office has been releasing weekly numbers on Fridays since absentee ballots started being accepted Sept. 18. These are the weekly ballot return totals:
Week 1 (Sept. 18-24) – 75,511
Week 2 (Sept. 25-Oct. 1) – 266,506
Week 3 (Oct. 2-8) – 298,986
Week 4 (Oct. 9-15) – 276,382
Week 5 (Oct. 16-22) – 275,137
With absentee voting in person now open until Nov. 2 (the day prior to Election Day), these numbers are expected to grow even more. Whether absentee voting becomes a permanent exercise for Minnesotans or is inspired by the pandemic won’t be known until the first Presidential Election post-COVID, but the clear indication is that many voters will continue to use this method of voting in the future.