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Minnesota again posts highest voter turnout in the country

Members of the Minnesota State Canvassing Board drew names of voting precincts set to be reviewed for their election performance Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, in St. Paul. Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota State Canvassing Board on Tuesday, Nov. 27 certified the results of the Nov. 6 midterm election, noting no apparent foreign interference and confirming the state reported the country's highest voter turnout at more than 64 percent.

State and federal election security and intelligence officials worked to fend off foreign meddling as was detected in the 2016 presidential election, Secretary of State Steve Simon said. And despite not having access to $6.6 million in federal funds aimed at securing the election, state officials were able to keep the contests safe, he said.

"As of this moment, we know of no particular attempted breach," Simon said.

Language giving the state permission to accept the federal money was tied up in an omnibus bill that Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed earlier this year.

Simon said he would draft legislation ahead of the 2019 legislative session greenlighting the state's acceptance of the federal money.

The results also confirmed that Minnesota again posted the highest voter turnout in the country. More than 2.6 million Minnesotans cast ballots in the midterm election, that's 64.3 percent of those eligible. Colorado came in second at 61.9 percent.

"We have certified and made it official, Minnesota (is) No. 1 once again," Simon said.

It was the state's highest turnout in a nonpresidential election since 2002. Minnesota also won the title for best voter turnout in 2016.

Simon attributed the high turnout to state election laws, as well as a state culture of voting and widespread trust in elections.

The board also approved state funds for a recount in the state House of Representatives race in House District 5A. Eight votes separated candidates in that contest. Pennington Republican Matt Bliss, who came up short in his race there against Bemidji DFLer John Persell, in a letter told the board he'd seek a recount.

A recount is set to take place Monday, Dec. 3 in Beltrami County.

And two parties will now be considered major political parties in the state along with the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the Republican Party. The Legal Marijuana Now Party and the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party will now be able to hold primary elections and their candidates will be eligible for state subsidies.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson, call 651-290-0707 or email dferguson@forumcomm.com

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