Frequently asked questions about our election results
What is the source of the election results that Minnesota Public Radio is showing on its Web site?
Minnesota Public Radio's election returns are from the Minnesota Secretary of State's (SOS) office.
How does the SOS gather and distribute the vote-count information?
The SOS makes voter returns available to the public as soon as they come in from the counties. MPR receives the vote counts directly from the SOS computers. Our past experience has shown that the SOS is the fastest source of information about Minnesota's election returns.
How often is the information updated?
The SOS updates their information about every 10 minutes, but sometimes sooner. We receive the information at our downtown St. Paul headquarters and then re-distribute it to a large server network. You will probably experience a range of times between updates due to the various steps in the transmissions and your local Internet traffic.
For how long will you make this information available?
We plan to permanently archive the final election results for Minnesota.
Does the information update itself, or do I have to click the refresh button to get the latest results?
If you're viewing Minnesota results using the interactive maps, the information will be updated automatically. If you're looking at the lists of results, you will need to refresh your screen to get updated numbers.
Why don't the results match up on all your Web documents?
Our process for reporting on Minnesota results requires us to move data several times from one location to another and be distributed among different computers. There may be periods of time when one report may vary from another, but these should synch up within a few minutes. If you are looking at the tabular (list) information and at the interactive map display too, you may need to refresh your tabular display to match the automatically updated map display.
Why are there people showing up in the results that were not on my voting ballot?
You may see the names of write-in candidates for some offices. These people have requested that the SOS present their name and vote tally separately from the general write-in group.
What is the balance of power, and what is it showing?
The balance of power is a live graphical representation of the control of the U.S. and Minnesota house and senate. The presentation is based on whoever is ahead at the time of the most recent results update. The gain number is determined relative to the number of seats held by the party in the body's previous session. As the results come in, the gains and colors may shift back and forth until the final numbers are tallied. These results are updated automatically (no need to refresh to see changes). Minnesota Balance of Power is based on SOS data; the U.S. Balance of Power is manually updated by MPR staff using national media sources.
Why does a Minnesota county/district show red or blue, even before a winner has been determined?
Our map shows red or blue (or another color) depending on whoever was ahead in the most recent vote results update. As more votes are tallied, the colors may shift back and forth until all the votes are counted.
When you select a particular county or district view, your choice will be highlighted in a darker color than the rest of the map.
What does changing the view to a specific party in the interactive map do?
Choosing a party allows you to see where that party has strength among voters geographically. It doesn't show how the party's candidate is doing relative to the competition.
The map combs through the results to find what area the party has its greatest support as indicated by where it's achieved its highest percentage of votes cast. Then it displays the rest of the map areas with graded tints relative to that strongest area. The darkest area is where the party is drawing its greatest percentage of voters; the lightest area is where it's getting the smallest percentage of the vote. How well other parties are doing is not a factor.
When viewing all parties on the map, the colors are based on which party is leading the race in that particular area.
What do the various colors on the map mean?
Each political party is identified with a specific color, which are listed below. Changing the view in the interactive map to a specific party will display a tint of this base color. Ties are displayed as grey.
|For Independent Voters||FIV|
|People Not Party||PNP|
|Quit Raising Taxes||QRT|
I'm having trouble getting results to show on my computer. Can you help?
Our displays will work best on PCs (running Windows 98, NT and XP), and on Macs (running MacOS 9.0 or greater) using Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, or Safari browsers. All configurations and unlisted systems may display information differently, but should still be readable.
The interactive maps require the Flash plug-in to run. You may need to download a current version of Flash that is compatible with your browser and computer operating system. Normally you will be prompted to download the Flash plug-in if you need it, but in some circumstances, such as corporate systems where computers are administered centrally, you may not see a prompt. Macromedia also provides Flash support on its site.
We are unable to respond to individual requests for support. However, if you're experiencing problems, we do want to know about them so we can make improvements in the future. Please report any issues you have through our contact form.