MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says Minnesota tops the nation when it comes to voters.

“30,000 more people voted in this election than in our previous election record,” Ritchie said.

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The State Canvassing Board met Tuesday afternoon to certify the Nov. 6, 2012 general election. All the races were certified with the exceptions of Senate District 20, and House District 8B, which hand recounts were authorized.

A total of 2,950,780 Minnesotans voted, 267,464 were cast by absentee ballot and 527,867 voters used same-day registration.

“I’m very proud of our state,” Ritchie said. “I know in other states, they had some falling back in numbers. But it also kept Minnesota No. 1 in the nation.”

On Election Day, long lines were reported at polling places, and Ritchie says one reason has to do with redistricting. Some voters didn’t read postcards that were mailed telling them about where to find their new polling place.

The long lines have Ritchie considering early voting in Minnesota.

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“Most states had 40 percent of their votes cast before the election — we had nine,” Ritchie said. “Minnesotans are ready, especially as we age and as we get busy. We see other states early voting, ‘What’s with Minnesota?'”

Minnesota currently has absentee voting. To qualify for absentee voting, you must be absent from you district, have an illness or disability, or you’re serving as an election judge in another district. You can also qualify if you’re observing a religious holiday or an emergency is declared by the governor in your area, or you’re federally quarantined.

“In states with early voting, after you voted, your phone stops ringing and your email and mail changes because it’s been recorded,”  Ritchie said.

When asked if Ritchie would seek a third term, he said that’s “a family decision” he’ll be discussing soon.

Recount Begins
On Wednesday, a recount begins in Senate District 20 and House District 8B. A recount is triggered when the margin between state, judicial and federal candidates is less than one-half of one percent.

The candidates affected by the recounts include DFLer Kevin Dahle and Republican Mike Dudley in Senate District 20, and Republican Mary Franson and DFLer Bob Cunniff in House District 8B. At one point, Franson and Cunniff were separated by one vote.

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The recount for Senate District 20 will be conducted in Le Suer, Rice and Scott Counties starting Nov. 28 to 30. The House District 8B recount will be held on Nov. 28 to 29 in Douglas and Otter Tail counties.