MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There was a big voter turnout in Minnesota for the primary election this week, and most of the results are in. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic still very much spreading in the U.S., many are looking at the primary election as a dress rehearsal for how mail-in and absentee voting will go in November.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon says the state had accepted 500,000 absentee ballots by about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, not counting people who voted in person.

As WCCO’s Jeff Wagner reported, those mail-in ballots are more than the total number of people who voted in the entire 2016 primary. Simon says he anticipates potentially tens of thousands of absentee ballots will be counted in the next few days.

Wagner talked with the U.S. Postal Service about what to expect for the general election in November, and they reported “plenty of capacity” in their system to handle the number of not-in-person ballots received later this year.

“We have been working closely with election and other public officials throughout the country to ensure that they are well educated about the mailing process and can use the mail effectively to administer elections,” USPS strategic communications manager David Rupert said. “Ensuring that election officials throughout the country have an understanding of our operational parameters, including the circumstances under which we postmark mail and our delivery standards, so that they can educate voters accordingly, is important to achieving a successful election season.”

Rupert added that the mail is secure and safe, saying there are about 2,000 postal inspectors enforcing the more than 200 federal laws covering crimes related to mail fraud.

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