The fall election produced Minnesota’s lowest voter turnout since 1986, according to results certified Tuesday. Final figures for this November’s election put participation at 50.5 percent of eligible voters. That’s the smallest percentage since 48 percent voted in the 1986 election.
Election Day arrived in Minnesota with Democrats feeling good about sweeping the biggest races in the state — for governor and U.S. Senate — and perhaps all of the statewide offices. But the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party was fighting a rear-guard action to hang on to the Minnesota House, with plenty of incumbents at risk and Republicans needing just seven seats to bring back divided government for the first time since 2012.
The polls are open and ballots are being cast across the state Tuesday as political candidates wait to see if they’ll be voted into office. According to the Pew Research Center, voter turnout is typically lower for the midterm elections, but Minneapolis election official Anissa Hollingshead said that’s not always the case here.
Do you have some last minute questions before heading to the polls? Here are four things you need to know before heading out the door.
Minnesota joins the rest of the nation Tuesday in a midterm election for everything from governor to local school board seats, with most polling places opening at 7 a.m. and all closing at 8 p.m. Some key things to know about what’s at stake:
On WCCO Sunday Morning, I did a long interview with Jeff Johnson, the Republican hopeful for governor. With just days until Election Day, Johnson is trailing in the polls to incumbent Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.
The leading candidates for Minnesota’s top offices are spending the final campaign weekend giving pep talks to the party faithful knocking on doors and calling persuadable voters. Democratic Sen. Al Franken told canvassers in a St. Paul suburb that races are “won at the door” and says his 312-vote win six years ago proves nothing can be taken for granted.
In a cramped office tucked behind an old 10-cent general store, the voice of 10-year-old Parker Hall cuts through the hum of non-stop conversation. Fueled by bottles of Dr Pepper and a big bag of candy, he asks if he can count on a vote for GOP candidates. Then another call. And another. He’s at it for hours.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican nominee Jeff Johnson ended their series of debates Friday much like they began, with the incumbent hailing big-picture successes and his rival saying too many things went awry over the past four years.
National Republicans are targeting Minnesota’s 7th District with a barrage of last-minute TV ads. That’s where Democratic U.S. Representative Collin Peterson is facing off with Republican Torrey Westrom.
Republicans and Democrats are fanning out across the state for the final few days of fall campaigning. Top candidates for both political parties are making the final push for votes before Election Day on Tuesday.
A steady flow of people filed into Hennepin County’s election office Wednesday and waited their turn to cast their ballot in the 2014 November general election. Deputy Secretary of State Beth Frazier says the use of absentee ballots is up 65 percent this year compared to the 2010 election. “The pace is higher, is faster than it was in 2010,” Frazier said. “More people are voting absentee than they did in the last non-presidential election.”
Minnesota’s Democratic candidates banded together Wednesday for a splashy launch of a six-day statewide bus tour featuring the ticket’s biggest names, while their Republican opponents went their own ways in smaller-scale campaign swings less than a week before the midterm.
Minnesota is one week out from Election Day, and many political campaigns are going “old school.” Thousands of Minnesota mailboxes are filling up with campaign literature.
Minnesotans have been avoiding long lines on Election Day by voting early this year.