Compiling Results on Election Night

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Ramsey County follows a set of standard procedures for collecting, compiling and reporting election results to ensure the security and accuracy of each election.

Votes are cast and compiled from two different sources:

  1. Votes cast prior to Election Day at the Elections Office, at early voting locations and through the mail.
  2. Votes cast at polling places on Election Day.

The voting system used to count ballots in Ramsey County is completely non-networked. Unlike other counties in Minnesota, Ramsey County does not electronically transmit election results from the polling place on election night. We consider this activity to be a security risk and vulnerable to interference. Our voting system has no communications capability and no access – wired or wireless – to the internet or telecommunications system.

Election results in Ramsey County are physically transferred from the polling places to the Elections Office after polls close. All ballots and election materials are sealed, audited and locked for security before leaving the polling places.

Once the Elections Office receives the Election Day results for a precinct, the results are added together with votes cast prior to Election Day and they are reported to the secretary of state’s website.

We historically begin to post results around 9:30 p.m. The complete final results will not be available until all polling places in the county have successfully and securely returned their materials to the Elections Office. This timeline varies depending on Election Day turnout.

2020 general election results

Initial unofficial results for the 2020 general election will be posted on the secretary of state's website website after polls close on Tuesday, Nov. 3. These results will include votes cast in person at polling places on election day and absentee ballots received as of Nov. 3.

All absentee ballots cast by mail that are postmarked by Nov. 3 and delivered via the United States Postal Service (USPS) to the Ramsey County Elections Office by 8 p.m. on Nov. 10 will be processed. These ballots will be stored separately per the decision issued Oct. 29 by the U.S. Court of Appeals Eight Circuit. The votes for president/vice president on these ballots may be removed from results if required by a future court ruling. The votes for all other races on the ballot are not impacted by the Oct. 29 court decision.

This extended timeline is part of the revised statewide rules for absentee voting in 2020. Due to this timeline, the results reported on election night will be incomplete. The outcome and winners of some races may not be clear on election night.

Updated results will be posted to the secretary of state’s website at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4; Thursday, Nov. 5; Friday, Nov. 6; Monday, Nov. 9; and Tuesday, Nov. 10 as remaining absentee ballots are counted.

The official results are expected to be available after the county canvass on Friday, Nov. 13.

After Election Day: Auditing and canvassing results

Following the election, the Elections Office audits the vote totals reported on election night with the official paper documents certified by election judges on Election Day. The audited results are then canvassed by the appropriate canvassing boards: state, county, city and school district.

All voted ballots and other election materials are securely maintained by the Elections Office for 22 months following each election, as required by state and federal law.