Minneapolis Makes Recommendations after Election Day Problems

Posted at: 12/03/2012 11:05 PM
Updated at: 12/04/2012 8:30 AM
By: Naomi Pescovitz

Minneapolis City Clerk Casey Carl admitted Monday, there were problems on Election Day this year.

"To the voters of Minneapolis, for the long lines and the wait times, for the cramped conditions at polling places, for accessibility challenges, for confusion about changes in polling place locations, for lack of adequate parking, and for all of the other issues, I can only offer my most sincere and my most genuine apology," Carl said to the Minneapolis City Council's Elections Committee on Monday.

The City received at least one complaint from 22 percent of polling places. Issues ranged from long wait times to malfunctioning machines and other unexpected problems.

"There was a significant supply problem that impacted our effectiveness at the polls on election day, a lack of working pens," Carl said.

Poll-workers were busier than ever. Turnout in Minneapolis was the highest in nearly four decades and 1 in four voters also had to register on Election Day.

"That impact cannot be over stated. In fact, it's my opinion that this record number of election day registrations was the primary factor that led to long lines and wait times across the city," Carl said.

The Elections Division is now suggesting changes to the voting process. They are recommending that City Council ask lawmakers to consider allowing early voting and "vote centers," where people could vote no matter which precinct they live in.

"It's not an automatic win to go to early voting or voting centers. Minneapolis should be able to handle their process like any other county or city should and does," said Senator Roger Chamberlain, Vice Chair of the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee.

They City also wants to purchase new voting equipment and is asking staff to look into replacing paper poll books with electronic ones.

The Minneapolis City Council will have to approve the recommendations before they are added to the City's 2013 Legislative Agenda.