Minnesota expects record voter turnout Tuesdayby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie predicts at least 80 percent of the state's eligible voters will show up at the polls on Tuesday.
The last time the state hit that mark was in 1956, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was re-elected to the presidency.
Minnesota is a national leader in voter turnout. Ritchie says his office has worked to increase participation of young voters and soldiers who are stationed overseas.
He says nearly 3 million voters would need to cast their ballots to reach the goal of 80 percent.
"We think Tuesday will be a historic day, and sometime very late at night -- Tuesday night or Wednesday morning -- Minnesotans can go to bed knowing we are No. 1 in the nation still, but also very inspired by democracy in action," said Ritchie.
A record number of Minnesotans have already voted by absentee ballots. Ritchie says that should help reduce the lines on Tuesday.
But he says people hoping to avoid crowds should bypass the heaviest times of early morning, the lunch hour and after work.
About 138,000 new voters have registered, including almost 90,000 between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. The young voter group typically turns out in lower rates than other age groups.
Ritchie says many more voters are expected to register on Election Day itself. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, but people still in line at 8 p.m. will be entitled to vote.