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Number of absentee ballots requested continues to climb in already record-setting election

Crystal Bui
Updated: July 31, 2020 06:10 PM
Created: July 31, 2020 04:25 PM

Minnesota has seen a record amount of absentee ballot requests for the upcoming election. Ten times the amount of ballots have been requested for this election as compared to 2018. 

Minnesota Secretary of State, Steve Simon, says back in 2018, 54,264 absentee ballots were requested at this time; now, there are 545,829 absentee ballots requested, with about half of those already mailed in and accepted.

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“People like the fact that when you vote absentee from home, you can put the ballot down for a day, or a week, or more if you want. You can google or research candidates and in a more thorough way,” said Simon.

Record number of mail-in ballots received by Minneapolis elections officials ahead of primary

The pandemic is pushing people to vote from the safety of their homes.

“The numbers are sky-high,” said Simon. “Every person who votes from home is making the polling place just a little bit safer on Election Day.”

But some voters are hesitant to mail in their ballots.

“The answer, though, is clear. And the answer is this: in Minnesota, when you go to the website to order that ballot, which is MNVotes.org, when you go to that website, you have to provide some personal identifying information […] And unless the thief, the would-be thief, had the precise personal information that the voter used to get the ballot, they could steal a hundred ballots or a thousand ballots, and vote them all, and they would never be counted, ever. They will be incinerated; they will be destroyed,” said Simon. “The people I've talked to who've been around this for a lot longer than I have for decades, say they can't recall a single case of someone swiping or stealing and then successfully voting an absentee ballot that was sent by mail.”

But even with some reassurances, President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets on Twitter this week, expressing his disagreement with absentee voting.

One tweet saying in part, “Mail-In Voting is already proving to be a catastrophic disaster. Even testing areas are way off.”

“This isn’t going to be a normal election night in Minnesota or in any other state, because of the huge surge in absentee ballots. We probably are not going to have total finality on election night, because there will be ballots that are still coming in after that. The state, the legislature, has allowed for extra time to count those ballots. So I just want to prepare everyone, that in November in particular, that when that happens, not if, but when there are delays in getting 100-percent of the ballots … it’s not that your county fell asleep at the switch. It’s that it was designed that way, designed by legislators, and some cases by court, to make sure they can handle the volume of all the absentee ballots of those that are voting from home.”  

If you're worried your ballot is going to get lost in the mail, you can go online to track it, just like what you would do with any other package.

The website to track your ballot or request a ballot is mnvotes.org.

You can still request your absentee ballot, but elections officials encourage voters to do it as soon as possible to allow time for mailing and processing.

Simon also says if you notice that your ballot hasn’t been received by election day, you can still go and vote in person. Election officials will catch the discrepancy, and the mail-in ballot would be cancelled if you end up deciding to vote in person.


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