Voter Outreach

As part of a countywide initiative to increase community engagement in each department, Ramsey County Elections focused on increasing voter participation through four main initiatives in 2018:
  • Voter registration
  • Early voting
  • Student participation
  • Resilient Communities Project coordination and research

Voter registration

Goal: Our goal was to increase voter registration by 10,000 new registered voters.

Result: An estimated 13,000 new voters registered in 2018.
  • Approximately 301,000 voters were registered in spring 2018 vs. 314,000 in spring 2019. This is a 4.4% increase in voter registration countywide.
  • The city with the highest increase in registration was Saint Paul at 5.8%.
13,000 estimated new registrants.

Ward 1 Precinct 9

Jackson School: 8.2% increase

Ward 1 Precinct 14

Mount Airy Hi-Rise: 8.7% increase

Ward 6 Precinct 8

Boys & Girls Club: 9.0% increase
Strategy: We had a successful engagement strategy with community partners.

League of Women Voters: Registered more than 800 students and provided voting demonstrations at libraries and community centers with a focus on engaging with new and first-time voters.

ACLU: Increased voter participation in urban centers and recruited election judges to work for Ramsey County. These judges reflected the make-up of the communities in which they were serving.

MNVoices and WeVoteMN:  Conducted Parade to the Polls and Souls to the Polls events that promoted voter engagement and in-person absentee voting. The events were organized at strategic starting locations and ended at the Ramsey County Elections Office where voters were able to cast their ballot during extended hours.

Common Cause: Distributed registration and absentee voting materials to eligible voters in the Correctional Facility and the Adult Detention Center.


Early voting

During the week before Election Day, voters are able to cast a ballot directly into the ballot counter at one of our early voting locations. In 2018, we coordinated efforts with Ramsey County Libraries, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, LeadMN and MnSCU to open these locations. 
Goal: The number of voters choosing to vote before Election Day is rising. 8.7% of voters cast their ballot before Election Day in 2012. In 2016, the rate jumped to 23.2%. The early voting initiative aimed to provide more pre-election voting locations throughout the community to meet the voters' needs.
Result: We opened 11 locations for the state primary and 12 locations for the general election. 26,000 voters cast their ballot at an early voting location during the 2018 general election. This volume of voters before Election Day reduced voter wait times in the polling place and increased parking availability. 
Strategy: We allowed any voter to vote at any location and offered pre-election weekend and evening voting hours. We also strategically opened locations in historically low turnout areas. We provided interpreter services during early voting to accommodate non-native English speakers.
Read more about early voting

Student participation

By educating and immersing students in the voting process we hope to create voters for life. 
Goal: We wanted to staff each polling place with two students countywide for a total of 280 students.
Result We surpassed our goal by hiring 441 student judges, a record high, to work during early voting and Election Day. Students came from every public high school in Ramsey County, with the largest number from Washington Technical Magnet School.
Strategy: We hired 17 teacher liaisons, one representing each public high school in Ramsey County. Teacher liaisons recruited and trained students to be election judges within their schools with support from Ramsey County Elections.
A teacher liaison and student judge at a polling place.

Resilient Communities Project with the University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota students.
Students from a fall 2018 undergraduate class surveyed young people, inquiring about reasons they do not participate in elections. Students from a spring 2019 capstone course will be continuing this research to assist in our voter engagement efforts.
GoalWe wanted to survey and identify reasons why younger people do not participate in elections with a focus on Saint Paul Ward 1 Precinct 9.
Result: The fall 2018 class gathered the data and the spring 2019 class will develop the solutions. We had high student interest in this project from four student groups. The students from the fall 2018 class had a high response rate to the exit poll. 
Strategy
The Resilient Communities Project involved:
  • UMN Center for Urban and Regional Affairs 
  • UMN Undergrad Class (fall semester) 
  • UMN Graduate Capstone (spring semester)
We accepted data and suggestions from the students' reports and presentations.

Return to the 2018 Annual Report, view the election results or read additional election reports to learn more.