Minnesotans heading to the polls Tuesday amidst COVID-19 concerns

State looks to fill some 30,000 polling jobs ahead of November election

The Morning News with Dave Lee
August 11, 2020 - 8:15 am

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Face masks, personal protective equipment, and disinfecting supplies will compliment voting ballots on Tuesday if Minnesotans opt to vote in-person for the primary election.

"We have rules about cleaning the polling services after every voter uses it," Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon told WCCO Radio's Dave Lee during the Morning News. "I just want folks to know we are going to make it as safe as we possibly can."

While a record number of Minnesotans have chosen to vote by mail for the primary election, Simon expects that in-person voting will remain a popular choice despite COVID-19 concerns. Simon told Lee that a high number of mail-in ballots will cause final results to be delayed until at least Thursday.

"This election night will look and feel a little different, which is by design," Simon said. "The legislature afforded local governments two extra days to compile every vote, which is by design. Don't blame your city or county when results are immediately available, it's by design."

Around 400,000 absentee ballots have already come in according to Simon, which is more than the total 2016 primary vote combined. 

"In terms of overall turnout, primary turnout is so hard to forecast," he said. "It really depends on the action on the ballot in a particular place. I can say it will be above 2016 levels automatically because we already have that in absentee ballots."

 Poll workers are in demand ahead of the November election. Election judges who are getting older are opting to take themselves out of the running and Simon said they will need to find some 30,000 Minnesotans to step-up and fill these positions in November. Those interested can find out more on the state's website.

"It's a great way to help out democracy," he said. "It's a paid gig and not a volunteer duty. You even get paid for the two hours of training. You can do it anywhere in Minnesota and are not restricted to your home area, or county."

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