State General Pre-Election Voting

Highest pre-election voting rate in Ramsey County history

Pre-election voting, also referred to as absentee voting, includes all voting prior to election day. During the 2018 state general election, Ramsey County's pre-election voting rate reached the highest in history.
Nearly a quarter of all voters cast their ballot before Election Day. In an effort to respond to these changes more resources have been allocated to make pre-election voting easier.
24.4% pre-election voting rate.
The Minnesota legislature passed the no excuse absentee voting law in 2014, allowing Minnesotans to cast their pre-election day ballot without an approved reason or excuse. Pre-election day voting increased dramatically across Ramsey County in 2016. Although more ballots were cast in the presidential election of 2016, the mid-term election of 2018 had the highest rate of pre-election voting. We predict the pre-election voting rate will continue to rise in the coming years. Voters can participate in pre-election voting, or absentee voting, in three different ways: mail voting, in-person voting and early voting. Details and location information are available from the elections website

Mail voting

The pre-election voting period begins six weeks before Election Day. Voters can receive their mail ballot during this period and return it to Ramsey County through Election Day. 39% of voters cast their ballot through the mail in 2018. 

In-person voting

In-person ballots are issued during the first five weeks of the pre-election voting period. Voters can seal their ballot into an envelope that is later opened and counted by election officials. 17% of voters cast their ballot in person in 2018.

Early voting

Early voting ballots are cast during the final week before Election Day. Voters can visit an early voting location within Ramsey County and cast their ballot using a ballot counting device. 44% of voters cast their ballot during the early voting period in 2018.
A sign outside an early voting location.

Early voting locations

Ramsey County opened 12 early voting locations in 2018 in response to the increased popularity of pre-election voting. Five locations were in Saint Paul and seven were in the surrounding suburbs. Early voting allowed voters to cast their ballot at any countywide location. Over 26,000 ballots were cast during the seven days of early voting.

When you want, where you want

One of the 12 early voting locations was the Ramsey County Library in Roseville which had over 3,600 voters. The map to the right represents the number of early voting ballots cast at Roseville Library by precinct. 
Maps like this illustrate how Ramsey County residents took advantage of the opportunity to cast their ballot outside of their home precinct. This map also demonstrates the value of placing locations strategically and equitably across the county. Pre-election voting tended to be higher in areas proximate to early voting locations.
An initiative of 2018 was the single-day early voting location at Saint Paul College. In six hours, 271 voters cast their ballots, including 100 first time voters.

Geography of pre-election voting

Pre-election voting occurs at varying rates across Ramsey County. In 2018, the city of Shoreview had the highest rate with 34.5% of total ballots cast before Election Day. The countywide average rate of pre-election voting was 24.4%.

Pre-election voting rate by precinct

The precinct with the highest pre-election voting rate was Shoreview Precinct 4 with 41%.
The precinct with the lowest rate of pre-election voting was Gem Lake Precinct 1 with 11%.

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