The final tally in Minnesota's 2020 general election produced a historic turnout rate and a small number of late-arriving mail-in votes, making further legal challenges to ballots arriving after Election Day unlikely.
Secretary of State Steve Simon hailed as a "great success" a report that roughly 2,500 absentee ballots were counted after the original 8 p.m. Election Day deadline. Under a state consent decree that had come under challenge before the election, officials could count ballots that arrived in the mail up to seven days after the Nov. 3 Election Day.
Democrat Joe Biden carried the state over President Donald Trump by more than 233,000 votes.
In light of GOP challenges to the extended deadline, Simon and other DFL state officials had urged voters to return their mail-in ballots by Election Day. Adding urgency to their call was a federal court ruling requiring state officials to set aside the late ballots for further legal action.
"Thanks to all who worked so hard to tell absentee voters to get their ballots in early!" Simon tweeted Friday. "It clearly worked."
A record 1.8 million Minnesotans cast votes via absentee ballots this year, responding to concerns about in-person voting at polling places during the pandemic. In all, more than 3.2 million Minnesotans voted, producing nearly 80% turnout — a rate not seen in the state since 1960.
Despite Biden's victory, the Trump campaign — aided by the U.S. Justice Department — has continued to question the integrity of the voting in states across the nation, including with legal challenges to extended voting deadlines.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison joined officials from 22 other states Friday calling on U.S. Attorney General William Barr to reverse a new directive issued to federal prosecutors allowing them to pursue allegations of voting irregularities before election results are certified.
Ellison said the original Justice Department policy had served as a guardrail against political interference in election results.
"The American people have voted in record numbers in an election that the Department of Homeland Security has called 'the most secure in American history' and have clearly chosen a new president," Ellison said.