By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More than 3.3 million Minnesota voters cast ballots in 2018.

That’s a 64.3 percent turnout — the highest in the nation for the second election in a row.

“The only thing tougher than getting to No. 1 is staying No. 1,” Secretary of State Steve Simon said. “We knew the pressure was on, and Minnesota really came through.”

The State Canvassing Board, making the results official, included another record: 24 percent of Minnesota voted early or by mail.

The numbers also reveal hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans voted to go green.

Two legal marijuana parties gained major party status by earning more than 5 percent of the total vote. Now, on the ballot with Republicans and Democrats are the Legal Marijuana Now Party and the Grassroots-Legal Cannabis party.

Oliver Steinberg has been advocating for legal marijauna for 50 years.

“Our object is not party time; to get high. It’s justice. And public safety, and economic opportunity,” Steinberg said.

Election officials also concluded there was no evidence of hacking or meddling, revealing federal intelligence officers were present in Minnesota to monitor possible breaches.

Although no breaches were found, Simon says the state needs to do more for election security.

“I’m asking the legislature to get that done. Immediately,” Simon said. “As early as possible in January, so we can make our election system more secure.”

Pat Kessler

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