A record number of absentee ballots were cast in Anoka County this election year.
By the time absentee voting closed at 3 p.m. Tuesday (election day) with that day’s mail, there were 13,969 absentee ballots, according to Cindy Reichert, Anoka County elections manager.
That compares with the previous record of 13,077 set in 2008, the last presidential election year.
By contrast, there were 6,000 absentee voters in the 2010 general election, which had the Minnesota governor’s race on the ballot, Reichert said.
For the first time, absentee voters were able to go to their home city hall to cast an absentee ballot.
That was a new process the Anoka County Elections Office began as a pilot project in six cities at the 2010 election and expanded to encompass all cities this year, Reichert said.
“It has worked wonderfully well,” she said.
There was one exception for residents in Linwood Township.
In-person absentee voting ended at 5 p.m. Monday, the day before the general election.
All absentee ballots were counted at the Anoka County Elections Office once the 3 p.m. deadline had passed Tuesday, Reichert said.
Some 10 vote counting machines were used for the absentee voter tally, but they had to be hand-fed the ballots, she said.
They were sorted into the precinct where the absentee voter lives, then added on to the election day vote totals of that precinct when they came in to the elections office Tuesday evening, she said.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]