Excepting a single state House race that will be subject to a state-financed recount, the 2018 election is officially in the books.
The State Canvassing Board — a five-member panel comprising four judges and Secretary of State Steve Simon — certified the election results on Nov. 27.
Besides judicial and state legislative races, the board members put official signatures to the results of the state’s constitutional office races — including the races for governor and attorney general. It certified the two U.S. Senate races and all eight U.S. House contests, as well.
Simon said the 2018 midterms put Minnesota at the top of the national heap in terms of voter participation for the second election in a row.
The total number of Minnesota votes, 2,611,365, constitutes a participation rate of 64.25 percent of eligible voters. That eclipsed the next closest state, Colorado, by more than a full percentage point in 2018, Simon said.
That represents the state’s greatest midterm election turnout since 2002. In that emotionally charged election year, there was a tightly competitive three-way race for an open governor’s seat and a late bid by former Vice President Walter Mondale, who replaced Paul Wellstone as the DFL’s U.S. Senate candidate. Sen. Wellstone was killed in a plane crash shortly before the election.
The 2002 race retains its place as Minnesota’s greatest-ever midterm turnout, Simon said.
Besides the secretary of state, the Canvassing Board includes state Supreme Court Justices Natalie Hudson and Paul Thissen, 4th Judicial District Chief Judge Ivy S. Bernhardson and 4th Judicial District Judge Paul R. Scoggin.
In addition to certifying election results, the board approved a publicly funded recount plan for the state House District 5A race. In that rematch contest, former Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji, appeared to retake his seat from one-term incumbent Rep. Matt Bliss, R-Pennington. Persell led by just eight votes before the recount.
The approved plan involves moving all of the nearly 17,000 District 5A ballots to Beltrami County. Election officials will convene there on Dec. 3 to conduct a full recount.