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Election results still slow

We're getting kind of nostalgic about a few years ago. Nope, we're not still processing the Republicans' return to power. We're pining, instead, for the days of paper ballots, optical scanning equipment and better communication.

Yet, the way the results came in leaves us to guess there's still plenty of room for improvement in our electronic election process. And just because computers are involved and the Internet connects us, doesn't mean the election results are better and more accurate than they were a few years ago.

We've had electronic polling equipment and public-access state government websites for several elections.

Still, with Nov. 2 election, it shows that despite a lot of rhetoric about how well prepared Minnesota was for heavy voter turnout, the results were startlingly unimpressive.

Re-elected Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie engaged in his own bit of hubris as he put out a press release early on Election Day calling the process "smooth as silk."

By the end, the whole thing had ground to a standstill and became thick as frozen concrete.

To wit: At 3:15 a.m., more than seven hours after the polls closed, the secretary of state still showed zero precincts from Houston County reporting.

A spokesman an hour earlier said they were working on results, but couldn't even begin to estimate when they'd be available.

Shortly before 3 a.m., there were eight Minnesota counties that also showed zero results.

Election Day 2010 had heavy voter turnout. And, as the results show, there were plenty of close races.

The most disturbing trend seems to be that the process is getting longer, less precise and regressing.

The technology may be getting better, but it doesn't appear the process is.