Crow Wing County had an 80 percent voter turnout Tuesday on a warm November day that sported a thunderstorm after dark.
The county's turnout was higher than the estimated statewide turnout of nearly 78 percent.
Crow Wing County Auditor Deborah Erickson said the voting was steady but smooth on Election Day with the wait for results coming largely because of the high number of voters throughout the day. Lake Edward Township was the last precinct in, reporting results at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Polling sites were swamped early as people waited in lines to vote before polls opened at 7 a.m. and precincts reported voting was steady throughout the day. The last two hours before the polls closed were actually the quietest.
"Everybody got out and voted and they got out and voted early," Erickson said.
In the county, 35,299 people voted Tuesday with 5,800 people registering to vote at the polls. It's not the highest number of people registering to vote on Election Day - that happened in 2004 with 6,400 people registering at the polls - but it was a high number. By comparison, when Jesse Ventura ran for governor in 1998 with a push to get out the vote, there were 3,395 people who registered at the polls.
"Every precinct had a high number of Election Day registrations," Erickson said.
Baxter's Precinct 1E had the highest number of voters registering at the polls with 320 people registered Election Day. The precinct had 1,523 registered voters when the day started and 1,501 people voted at the precinct. Other precincts with the highest number of voter registrations included Brainerd's Ward 2 Precinct 1 with 291, Brainerd Ward 4 Precinct 1 with 241, Breezy Point with 268 and Pequot Lakes with 287.
The county had 4,319 absentee ballots. Erickson said the number of absentee ballots was in the typical 10-15 percent range. Because election judges were busy throughout the day, tabulating absentee ballots in some cases had to wait until the polls closed at 8 p.m.
The Tuesday voter turnout was just shy of the high 81 percent mark set in 2004. In 2000, turnout was 75 percent.
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