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Early Voting Numbers Nearly Double in Olmsted County

August 08, 2018 05:53 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- There’s been a steady stream of people at the Olmsted County Absentee Voting Office. The number of people voting early has dramatically increased.

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“We had, like, 663 absentee ballots in total in 2016,” said Mark Krupski, the director of Property Records & Licensing for Olmsted County.

But already this year, Krupski says Olmsted is closing in on 2,000 ballots cast. “We could be anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 voters [once absentee voting closes], which would be rather huge for us.”

The biggest driver of the increase is an unprecedented number of contests on the primary ballot for city, state and federal offices.

“They [local voters] are very invested this year,” said Mary Jones. “They have a lot of investment in the elections in all the levels of government because of housing issues, because of wage issues, because of transportation issues.”

Jones is a board member of Rochester’s chapter of the League of Women Voters Minnesota. She hopes the sheer number of people casting their ballots early is an indicator of what’s to come on primary day, Aug. 14.

“I think there's a lot of people that still like to go to the actual polls and still do it on Election Day,” said Jones.

She believes the turnout will be even better in November.

“I think that this will be a very big year,” said Jones. “Minnesota has led the nation in voter turnout on presidential (election) years. Not always on the off years like this year is, but at the same time we have a lot of races on our ballot.”

Olmsted isn't the only county that's seen a spike in early voting. Mower County says 173 absentee ballots have been cast, already beating out 2016's total of 110.

Jones says the message is the same. “Get out and vote,” she said.

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Hannah Tiede

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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