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The drama of this year's election stretched out over several days as states counted their ballots, but how did Minnesota get its ballots counted so quickly?

We'd heard for several months before the election, that-- like just about everything else this year-- the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would make things would be different this year.  And that was the case here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes as absentee voting started earlier and was used by many more voters than ever before.

Voter turnout across the country, and more specifically here in Minnesota, was HUGE in the 2020 election, with turnout here in Rochester being eclipsing the state average. And early voting (or, more accurately, absentee voting) accounted for a large percentage of those totals. Here in Olmsted County, election officials estimate that over 50 percent of all ballots cast this fall were absentee ballots!

There were similar stories from states all across the country, as well. But while Minnesota's results were tabulated and accounted for fairly early on election night (Tuesday, November 3rd), other states kept counting their ballots for several more days. How did election officials here in Minnesota get our ballots counted so quickly?

Well, while we'd like to think it's because we're just better at things here in Minnesota, it's more so that we're better at planning ahead. Because, according to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, the Minnesota legislature earlier this year authorized local governments to begin counting those early, absentee votes two weeks before the election. That headstart then allowed those same officials plenty of time to count the in-person votes cast on election night and get everything tabulated far ahead of several other states-- some of whom who are STILL counting their ballots.

So, despite our state being a hard-fought battleground for the presidential candidates, that's why the entire election is hinging on officials still counting our ballots up in St. Paul. I voted early this year, dropped my ballot off at the Olmsted County election office with plenty of time to check online to make sure my vote was received and counted-- well before election night. Well done, Minnesota!

And just like Minnesota was one of the first states in the country to get its results in during Tuesday night's election, there are a few cities that are first on the list of lottery winners. Keep scrolling to check out the Minnesota cities that have produced the most winners...

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