Voter turnout up in the Aug. 9 Primary

Minneapolitans came out to the polls at the highest rate for a presidential year primary since 2000. Citywide voter turnout in the Aug. 9 Primary Election was 15.44%. Across the 13 wards, turnout ranged from a high of 26.39% in Ward 6 to a low of 11.02% in Ward 5. Full turnout figures citywide and by ward are on the Elections & Voter Services website in the Data & Resources section.

Across Minneapolis, 35,277 residents cast a ballot in the Primary. 4,654 of those ballots were cast before Election Day through absentee voting, either by mail or in person. 55% of absentee voters chose to vote early in person, with 44% of all absentee ballots cast at the Early Vote Center at 217 S. Third St, and 11% of all absentee voters going to Hennepin County. 29% of absentee votes were cast by mail.

The City of Minneapolis calculates turnout by dividing the number of vote cast by the number of registered voters, including those who register on Election Day. This is a common method for calculating turnout used by localities around the country, and used in Minneapolis for several years, allowing for ease in comparing turnout figures in the city over time. Looking at turnout in the 2014 Primary, 2016 demonstrates an uptick in participation of nearly 3 points as overall turnout increased from 12.46% in 2014.

At the statewide level, the Minnesota Secretary of State uses a different calculation for voter turnout. Rather than using registered voters, the state uses an estimate of the Voting Eligible Population (VEP) in its calculations. Therefore, it is not possible to make an apples-to-apples comparison of turnout at the statewide level and within Minneapolis based on these calculations.

What is possible with the calculations used in Minneapolis is to drill into the numbers by ward and precinct in more depth, and over a period of time if desired. As noted, Ward 6 had the highest rate of turnout across the city this year, which was also the case in 2014, although this year marked an increase in the ward from 21.13% to 26.39%. Another particularly notable shift since 2014 demonstrated in the ward-level turnout figures occurred in Ward 4, which had the lowest level of turnout in the city in 2014. In this year’s primary, turnout in that ward moved up to 15.85%, slightly above the citywide average.

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