Minn. counties bracing for long lines on Election Day Live

Polling places that saw long lines in the past are adding election judges, new voting machines and ditching paper sign in books this year.
 
In Hennepin County, cities outside of Minneapolis are going digital to check voters in.

Elections manager Ginny Gelms says the county broke early voting records this year, and that could help shorten wait times.

“At this point in Hennepin County, we're up to over 1 in 5 pre-registered voters have already cast an absentee ballot,” Gelms said. “So those are all people who are not going to be trying to get through the line on Election Day and that's another thing that will help us mitigate lines on Tuesday."

Gelms said lines will vary depending on the precinct. The county tries to urge cities to keep the number of registered voters at 2,000 to 2,500 in each precinct.

But she said precincts with apartment complexes, rental units and students may see longer wait times because of same-day registration.
“Election day registration, while it's very important and a good part of our elections process that helps people cast a ballot who wouldn't otherwise be able to on election day," Gelms said, "it does take a little bit longer than going through the process as a pre-registered voter."

ProPublica’s Electionland project analyzed data that showed 17 percent of the voters in Hennepin County waited longer than 30 minutes in the 2012 presidential election. The project, in which MPR News is participating this year, covers access to the ballot and problems that prevent people from exercising their right to vote.

Electionland also identified Wadena, Renville and Dodge counties as places that have had long wait times in the past.

In Dodge County, election officials say long wait times were never noticeable. But this year, they’ve added election judges and an extra machine to serve three busy precincts that all vote in one place. The southern Minnesota county also broke early voting records this year.
 
--Riham Feshir, MPR News

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