ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Minn. Secretary of State says we won't see final results on election night, but don't panic

FSA election 2020 art.jpg
We are part of The Trust Project.

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said Nov. 3 will be "an election like no other," but assured voters that they should trust the state's voting systems in place.

Simon made the comments in a Tuesday, Oct. 13, briefing with the media about the state's plan for election night.

With the state still in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, Simon said Minnesotans shouldn't see physical polling places as a "death trap," but that they should consider alternatives to voting in-person on Election Day. And with an unprecedented number of Minnesotans having already opted to vote by mail, Simon said residents should not be alarmed if precincts aren't reporting full results as early as they usually do on the night of Nov. 3.

"No one is saying that polling places are a death trap and you should run for your lives," Simon said. "Nobody is saying that. No one has ever said that. What we are saying is, use your head. Use caution. Think about ways you can mitigate risk, up to and including using alternate ways of voting."

Steve Simon. File photo portrait

ADVERTISEMENT

Polls in Minnesota have been open since Sept. 18, allowing voters to cast their ballots early and in-person. Minnesotans can also vote by mail without needing an excuse to use a mail-in absentee ballot. The state has also waived its usual witness signature requirement for mail-in ballots due to the pandemic.

Already, Simon said Tuesday that 1.3 million in the state have voted by mail — an unprecedented number with the general Election Day still three weeks away.

Also due to the pandemic, the state is going to accept mailed ballots up to one week after Nov. 3, so long as they are postmarked on or before Election Day. Voters can also drop their ballots off in collection boxes if they prefer not to mail them.

With potentially millions voting by mail and precincts accepting ballots until Nov. 10, Simon on Tuesday's call braced Minnesotans not to be surprised when election results aren't considered final for days after the election, and vote totals will continue to adjust. There won't be the "instant gratification" that Americans have grown accustomed to with votes totaled on election night or early the next morning.

Simon stressed that delay is "literally by design," and not something that should make Minnesotans panic.

"This is the plan. This is not the result of someone’s laziness or screwup or falling down on the job or failing to plan ahead," he said. "When people see, when citizens see, on election night that we don't have 100% of the results in, it is literally by design."

He continued, "It’s not evidence that anyone is hiding or concealing or rigging or stealing. It’s evidence of the actual plan."

Mearhoff is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. You can reach her at smearhoff@forumcomm.com or 651-290-0707.
What to read next
The Cowbot would be a way to mow down thistles as a way to control the spread of weeds, "like a Roomba for a pasture," says Eric Buchanan, a renewable energy scientist at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, Minnesota.
The Red River Valley Water Supply Project will sue farmland owners for eminent domain if they don’t sign easements before July 8, 2022. Farmers say the project is paying one-tenth what others pay for far smaller oil, gas and water pipelines.
Attendees to a recent meeting at a small country church on the border of Minnesota and South Dakota found armed guards at the church entrance. Then someone saw an AR-15, prompting a visit by the sheriff. It's the latest development in a battle for the soul of Singsaas Church near Astoria, South Dakota. The conflict pits a divisive new pastor and his growing nondenominational congregation, who revived the old church, and many descendants of the church's old families, worried about the future of a pioneer legacy.