City Clerk Casey Carl apologized to Minneapolis voters for last month’s voting snafus, which he said resulted from an extraordinary turnout with huge numbers of election-day registrants, precinct changes and a range of technology issues ranging from balky pens to misprinted ballots.
Appearing before the City Council on Monday, Carl recommended acquiring new voting machines, changing state law to allow early voting for any reason and voting at centralized kiosks, plus mobilizing more City Hall workers to form a rapid-response team of election judges for Election Day.
His appearance followed an Election Day with a greater than usual number of long lines, confusion over polling places, scanners than counted read ballots, and unusually late reporting of results. Carl said 81 percent of the city’s registered votes cast ballots, the highest proportion number since the voting age was reduced to 18 in 1971. The city also recorded its greatest primary to general election turnout jump in 44 years, with only 11 percent voting in August’s primary.
“An hour wait is too long to vote in my mind, especially in this climate,” Council Member Meg Tuthill admonished
The council, meeting in committee, directed Carl to review all polling places and replace problematic ones, develop multi-year election budgets, and to work with Hennepin County on new voting equipment for the city’s 2013 elections, something that has been under discussion for years.