As city, state and federal officials continue to encourage mail-in voting, Southwest Minneapolis residents are submitting absentee ballots at record levels ahead of the Aug. 11 primary elections.
As of Aug. 1, nearly three times as many Southwest Minneapolis residents had submitted a mail-in ballot than did in the run-up to the March presidential primary, which took place just before the pandemic began to alter life in the city. Citywide, over 37% of the city’s 258,000-plus registered voters had requested a mail-in ballot as of Aug. 1, and about a third of those had been returned.
City, state and federal officials have been encouraging mail-in voting to keep people away from polling places during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Aug. 1, only about 7% of all early votes cast have been placed in person, with a majority of the city’s in-person votes cast in Ward 6, where residents are also deciding who will fill a vacant City Council seat.
Statewide, 12 times as many Minnesotans have requested to vote absentee than had at this point in 2018, WCCO-TV reported.
The Star Tribune has reported a 21-fold increase in the number of absentee ballots requested statewide compared with this point in 2016.
Absentee voting includes mail-in and early in-person voting.
Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 11 to be counted. They can also be dropped off at the city’s Elections & Voter Services center (980 E. Hennepin Ave.) or the Hennepin County Government Center.
The city is moving 50 polling place as a pandemic-related safety precaution, including 18 in Southwest Minneapolis. A complete list of polling places is online at vote.minneapolismn.gov.
More information about candidates in the primary elections is at tinyurl.com/swjvoterguide.