By Tim Krohn
Free Press Staff Writer
— In the nine-county area, there was nary a registered voter who didn’t head to the polls and have their say Tuesday.
All area counties saw voter turnout of between 90 percent and 95 percent — a near unprecedented showing.
Minnesota Secretary of State Ritchie said a record number of ballots were cast statewide. He said 2,938,947 voters cast ballots in the presidential race.
By comparison 2,921,147 voters cast ballots in the 2008 presidential election. This year’s numbers will go up a bit as a few precincts in the state haven’t been tallied.
The record number of voters is about 76 percent of Minnesota’s estimated eligible voters. The number of eligible voters has increased by 135,238 voters since 2008.
“It was amazing. I haven’t seen that much same-day registration since Ventura ran,” said Patty O’Connor, election director for Blue Earth County.
She was referring to Jesse Ventura’s run for governor in 1998, which ignited strong voter interest among many young people and others who hadn’t voted before.
O’Connor had expected about half the number of same-day registrants — those whose names were not already on county rolls as being registered voters before Tuesday.
“We had 1,000 same-day registrations in one precinct. And these weren’t MSU precincts — it was west Mankato.” Precincts with a lot of college students are expected to have high same-day registration because many just moved here and hadn’t registered earlier.