MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The 2020 election season is already looking much different than ever before. As of Tuesday, there are three weeks to go until Election Day, but it could take up to four weeks before we know who won certain races.

Among the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota has already hit a record number of mail-in ballot requests, at 1.3 million. For context, that is about half of the number of people who voted in total in 2018.

“Just protecting our vote and making sure that it counts,” Minnesota voter Amanda Schwartz said.

Meanwhile, some are saying they have concerns about what will happen if their vote isn’t included in the count right away after polls close.

“I was going to mail it in, but just got a little nervous,” voter Anita Warkle said.

Secretary of State Steve Simon outlined what we can expect as we make our way towards Nov. 3.

There’s a new rule that ballots have to be postmarked by Nov. 3 and arrive within one week. That means we won’t have the final numbers until the evening of Nov. 10. We could know well before then who won various races; it just depends on how close they are.

Simon has been pushing for mail-in ballots, and pushing through the security questions that come with them.

There are three layers of security, starting with a personal identification number required when you request a mail-in ballot, and again when you return it.

“Unless they have the personal identifying information on the particular form that the intended voter used when the intended voter ordered it, they’re not going to get very far. So they can send in 100 or 1,000 and they will never be counted. And they aren’t,” Simon said.

Another concern some have voice is the security of the system itself, after Russian hackers unsuccessfully targeted Minnesota’s election in 2016.

“We have minimized the risks, constantly, feverishly, obsessively over the last four years, and I feel very good about where we are,” Simon said.

He is less certain about when races will end up being called, which is a matter of logistics. The results on Election Night will reflect in-person, early and absentee ballots. But mail-in ballots will be accepted for one week after Election Day, if postmarked Nov. 3. We could know well beforehand who won the various races, but it will depend on how close they are.

You can track your ballot online to make sure it got there — and if it didn’t or you didn’t get it, contact your local election office. You can also drop it off in person.

Christiane Cordero

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