Hennepin County Voter Turnout Drops Sharply From 2008 Primary

The number of ballots fell by more than quarter.

Update 7:56 a.m. Aug. 15: Statewide, turnout is down about 44 percent, although 1 percent of the state’s 4,102 precincts still had results outstanding as of this update.


With incumbent congressmen and a sitting senator on the ballot, Hennepin County saw a steep drop-off in voter turnout from the 2008 primary.

Polling places tallied nearly 25,000 fewer people at the polls this year, a decrease of about 27 percent.

Several Patch cities exceeded that drop, notably:

  • Minnetonka (42 percent)
  • Edina (39 percent)
  • Maple Grove (37 percent)  
  • Plymouth (36 percent)
  • Richfield (35 percent)

(See the chart below for totals for Hennepin County Patch communities.)

Still, some communities with heavily contested races bucked the trend. Golden Valley’s 2 percent gain was likely helped by a nine-person special election to represent Hennepin County’s 2nd District on the County Board—a race that included Golden Valley City Councilwoman l.

Similarly, several Lake Minnetonka communities saw turnout increase for precincts that helped Cindy Pugh, a self-described Tea Party leader and a first-time political candidate, 11-term incumbent State Rep. Steve Smith in the House District 33B primary. The same area also had between Connie Doepke and David Osmek for the Senate District 33 seat.

The results could also skew by party. The decrease for Edina Republicans was 9 percentage points better than the city’s average. The gap was even wider countywide, where DFLers had a 32 percent drop and Republicans had a 9 percent decrease.

While all Hennepin County precincts have reported results, more than 10 percent of precincts statewide had not yet reported in at press time. Patch will update this story with statewide totals once more complete information is available.


Vote Totals for Select Patch Communities

2008 2012 Hennepin County 91,368 66,470 Deephaven 420 415 Edina 5,226 3,183 Excelsior 189 137 Greenwood 82 89 Golden Valley 2,316 2,366 Hopkins 968 711 Maple Grove 3,315 2,072 Long Lake 133 126 Minneapolis 33,938 24,285 Minnetonka 5,419 3,121 Minnetonka Beach 56 76 Orono 575 625 Plymouth 4,820 3,077 Richfield 2,913 1,886 Shorewood 654 662 Spring Park 86 116 St. Louis Park 3,761 2,614 Tonka Bay 129 159 Wayzata 448 347 Woodland 85 43
Phil Johnson August 15, 2012 at 04:12 PM
The media adequately reminded people to vote, but did a terrible job of informing them of the candidates, their history, and their positions on issues. Unless a voter took time and did their own research on the web, many of the names of candidates on the ballots would have been a surprise. It's no wonder people didn't show up to vote.


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