First, City Clerk Casey Carl apologized to Minneapolis voters for last month’s voting snafus, then he recommended how to keep them from recurring. The city’s top election official told the City Council on Monday that hours-long lines, voters showing up at wrong precincts and late reporting of results arose from a number of factors: an extraordinary turnout with huge numbers of Election Day registrants, redistricting, precinct changes and technical problems ranging from balky pens to misprinted ballots. Carl recommended working with Hennepin County to buy new voting machines, changing state law to allow early voting for any reason and voting at centralized kiosks, plus mobilizing more City Hall workers to form a rapid-response team of election judges for Election Day.
He started with his “most sincere and most genuine apology” for waits in line of up to three hours, cramped polling places and confusion over precinct changes.
Carl said that the logjam from the city’s 81 percent turnout — which was matched statewide — was exacerbated by one-quarter of those voting registering to do so at the polls, compared with only 18 percent statewide. That slowed lines for those voters and consumed the time of election judges, he said.
Carl also noted that because of the low turnout in the primary, he may have underestimated how many voters would show up on Election Day. The jump in turnout was 70 percentage points over the primary, the biggest in more than 40 years.
“An hour wait is too long to vote in my mind, especially in this climate,” Council Member Meg Tuthill admonished.