A behind the scenes look at Election Day preparations 

“Elections…well, that’s an easy job…only gotta work a couple days a year, huh?!”
If only…

Few individuals outside of our Elections “family” know how much work really goes into every election. Preparation begins months in advance. With less than a week to go before Election Day, we’re only now wrapping up the last rounds of equipment testing and finalizing the materials to pack for the polls.

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, the Public Accuracy Test (PAT) was held at the Elections warehouse at 10 am—a time to randomly and publicly test the ballot counters and AutoMARKs used in polling places for accuracy. Prior to this final test, the Elections team devoted many hours to other tasks to ensure a smooth, error-free Election Day, including:

  • Ballot proofing, together with Hennepin County, of all 125 precinct-specific ballots;
  • A week testing the accuracy and functionality of each AutoMARK machine (with four staffers, that’s over 150 hours of work!);
  • A week testing the accuracy and functionality of each ballot counter (prior to the PAT) with a test deck of ballots (again, over 150 hours of work with four warehouse staffers on it all week!);
  • A “stress” test of ballot counter results modem transmittal to Hennepin County (sending ballot counter test deck results from each machine to the county simultaneously to ensure accurate and timely election night reporting);
  • Replacing or repairing any damaged or defective voting booths; 
  • Finalizing last-minute signs, instructions, and other materials;
  • Packing 125 supply cases with 5 duty bags and other polling place supplies needed for our judges to serve our voters;
  • Planning and preparation for the Election Day headquarters/phone center; and
  • Planning and preparing supplies and logistics for our drop-off site (judges returning ballots and other items on Election night to our warehouse).

Testing results and materials are considered part of the election and must be held for 22 months, as with the ballots and other official materials from Election Day. 

This is just a sampling of the work that our team of full-time and seasonal workers perform in preparation for Election Day—and doesn’t even address the countless hours of election judge recruitment and scheduling, nor the hours devoted to materials, preparation, and training classes to help educate and assist thousands of election judges, nor the volumes of absentee voters being processed in-person and by mail. 

Although most of this preparation, training, and testing is largely unseen by and unknown to our voters, we hope this work leads to a completely uneventful and unremarkable day for voters casting their ballots in Minneapolis—as well as for  the judges and all of us at City Hall!  

 Warehouse testing


Elections & Voter Services
City Hall, 350 S. 5th St., Room 201
Minneapolis, MN 55415