MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota primary is coming up fast and election judges around the country are making sure they’re ready.

On Friday morning, the Elections and Voters Services building in Minneapolis was running voting tests.

The tests are conducted before every election. It’s a chance to fill in the boxes on what works before voters fill in the ovals on their candidates.

“I can assure you election officials across the country have been diligently working in collaborating on making sure every citizen across our country can cast a ballot safely and accurately,” said Grace Wachlarowicz, director of Elections and Voter Services in Minneapolis.

Wachlarowicz’s comments come after President Donald Trump floated the idea of delaying the election because of his concerns over mail-in voting.

That has been a popular option in Minneapolis, where a record 87,000 ballots have been mailed-out so far. Election officials say that represents about 45% of registered voters in the city- far surpassing previous elections.

“Our largest was the presidential general election. Grand total we processed about 23,000,” Wachlarowicz said.

To keep up, Minneapolis voter services uses a special counter.

“We have a high-speed counter. It’s a DSA 50. It’s a much larger version of that machine. It counts thousands of ballots in a minute,” said Eric Jeffreys-Berns, an election administrator.

For those that do decide to vote in person, some of the 134 polling precincts have been moved because they are too small for social distancing. Sanitizing and masking will be requirements for voters at the polls.

“We have them working around the clock to make sure it is safe and secure,” Wachlarowicz said.

Of the 87,000 mail in ballots that have been requested in the city, only 30,000 have been returned. With the primary Aug. 11, election officials are urging people to mail in those ballots as soon as possible.

John Lauritsen

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