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First-time voters in Freeborn County topped 2,500

Published 5:48am Sunday, November 11, 2012

More than 2,500 people registered to vote on Election Day in Freeborn County, according to results confirmed Friday.

Freeborn County Auditor-Treasurer Dennis Distad said new voter registrations on Election Day accounted for 2,546 out of 16,817 voters who turned out to cast their ballot.

There were 1,723 absentee ballots submitted, which was down about 150 from the 1,878 submitted in 2008.

Adding in the new registrations, there were 20,492 people registered to vote. This dropped the voter turnout to 82 percent, instead of the initial 94 percent reported at the close of the elections, which did not include the new registrations.

The local turnout was higher than the average state voter turnout of 77 percent, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office.

Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said earlier this week a record number of people — about 2.94 million — voted across the state in the Tuesday election.

The previous record was in 2008 with about 2.91 million.

However, because the Minnesota population is growing, the percentage of people who actually voted dropped to about 77 percent, down from 78 percent in 2008.

Minnesota’s highest general election turnout was in 1956, when 83 percent of registered voters participated.

The election included numerous city and county offices, a local charter amendment, two highly debated proposed state constitutional amendments, a series of state races and the presidential seat, among other smaller races.