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The calculations of voter turnout is determined by dividing the number of persons voting
by the size of potential voting population.
Calculations used on the Web Site
The official voter turnout is calculated by dividing the total ballots cast by the voting age population. However, the estimate of the voting age population is only available statewide and total ballots cast information is not available until after county canvassing boards meet up to a week after the election.
To provide an estimate of voter turnout on election night, and estimates of turnout by election district, county, and precinct, this web site also reports voter turnout calculated by dividing key race (Governor and Lieutenant Governor) results by the number of persons registered at 7:00 AM on Election day.
To see the difference between these two methods of calculating voter turnout, in 2000 the
turnout estimates were:
Official Voter Turnout = 69.4%
The number of persons Voting:
On election night, and for the first few days after the election, the number of persons voting is equal to the total number of votes for all candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. This method is known as "key race" calculation. The "key race" in this election is Governor and Lieutenant Governor. In 2000 and 2004 the key race is president and vice president.
The advantage of key race calculation is that it is immediately available as election results are reported on election night. The disadvantage is that not every ballot cast contains a vote for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. As many as 2-5 percent of ballots cast do not record a vote for Governor and Lieutenant Governor which may result in reporting a lower turnout that actually occurred. The key race method is used on this web site until the official voter turnout can be calculated.
The official voter turnout is calculated by dividing the total number of ballots cast by the total voting age population. While this method is not available for up to a week following the election, it is the most accurate reflection of the voter participation.
The size of the Potential Voting Population:
There are three ways of determining the number of people who could have voted. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
For more information about Voter Turnout and Voting Age Population:
Historic turnout in Minnesota: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/election/elstat94.pdf