Good turnout expected locally on Election Day

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Minnesota has historically had a good voter turnout, and local election officials expect that trend to continue Tuesday.

In the 2008 presidential election, 78 percent of eligible Minnesotans voted — the highest percentage of any U.S. state — versus the national average of 62 percent, according to Wikipedia.

Locally, Sherburne County Auditor/Treasurer Diane Arnold estimates voter turnout in the county will be between 70 and 80 percent on Election Day, Nov. 6.

“Sherburne County usually has a pretty good turnout,” she said.

Elk River City Clerk Tina Allard said turnout in Elk River for the 2010 general election was 71 percent.

“… With the presidential race, the school district questions and the constitutional amendments all on the ballot, turnout will be good and polling places will be steady all day,” Allard said of Tuesday’s election.

She reminded voters to make sure they know which precinct to go to in order to cast their vote.

“Many people may not realize that the city had to redistrict this year as a result of the 2010 census,” Allard said. “So the city had to change its ward boundaries to spread its population out more evenly among each ward. This means that some people may not be able to vote at the same location they have been voting at over the past 10 years due to these boundary changes.”

She encouraged voters to visit the Minnesota secretary of state’s website at to find out their polling location.

At the county, meanwhile, Arnold’s office has already been busy with absentee balloting. She anticipates that the number of absentee ballots this election will probably be close to 4,000, which would surpass the number cast in 2010.

They have been averaging 118 absentee ballots a day.

The Sherburne County auditor/treasurer’s office will be open from 10 a.m.–3 p.m.  Saturday, Nov. 3 for absentee balloting for Sherburne County residents. People should go to Door B at the Sherburne County Government Center, 13880 Business Center Drive, Elk River. The office will also be open for absentee balloting for Sherburne County residents from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5.

According to Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, an eligible Minnesota voter may cast an absentee ballot for one of the following reasons: absence from the precinct, observance of religious discipline or holiday, illness or disability, serving as an election judge in another precinct, or when an emergency is declared by the governor or a quarantine is declared by the federal or state government.

For more information about absentee ballots and other voting information, go to

Arnold said the best place to track election results is the secretary of state’s website, which is refreshed every four minutes.

Voter turnout in Minnesota 

Presidential election years

1992 ………………….. 74%

1996 ………………….. 67%

2000 ………………….. 70%

2004 ……………………79%

2008 ………………….. 78%

Source: Minnesota Secretary of State