ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — 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.
The state Canvassing Board certified the results three weeks after Election Day. Overall, 1,992,566 people voted — the first time it was below 2 million since 1994 when there were far fewer eligible voters.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said Minnesota’s slacking numbers are consistent with a national trend of fall-off in years when presidential candidates aren’t on the ballot.
“It sure seemed like people felt the top of the ticket was a yawn,” said Ritchie, who is preparing to leave office in January after completing a second term and declining to shoot for a third.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken won new terms. Republicans took control of the state House.
With a new system where anyone can cast an absentee ballot for any reason, many more did than the last midterm election. Just shy of 200,000 people, or 9.9 percent, voted by absentee.
The canvassing board’s action starts a seven-day clock for anyone to challenge the results or seek a recount at their own expense.
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