• 30°

After court ruling, few Minnesotans risked late ballots

By Brian Bakst, Minnesota Public Radio News

New figures from 82 of 87 counties compiled by the Secretary of State’s office show only 2,436 ballots arrived late and had to be segregated under a federal court’s order. Those ballots were counted and there hasn’t been a direct challenge to their validity.

Many voters rushed to drop off ballots or decided to vote in person after the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals cast doubt on a promised seven-day mail delivery cushion.

The extra window was the result of a court decree agreed to by Secretary of State Steve Simon and groups who sued for more time amid the pandemic. A group of Republicans sued, saying the decree wasn’t constitutional. The federal appeals court ordered five days before the election that those ballots would be kept separate in case the votes had to be subtracted during the ongoing litigation.

Elections officials and prominent politicians urged voters not to take a chance. And it appears many of the 228,000 people in possession of an unvoted mail or absentee ballot chose to vote at a polling site instead.

The five counties that weren’t part of the ballot compilation are: Becker, Beltrami, Houston, Marshall and Steele. They were not expected to add significantly to the total given the number of outstanding ballots.

Minnesota hasn’t certified its election results yet, but final turnout will wind up at about 80 percent of eligible voters.