ST. PAUL — Minnesota election officials have counted 12,354 mail-in ballots since Election Day to put toward the state's final vote tally.
Not all of them were late-arriving ballots, which had until Tuesday, Nov. 10, to be delivered. Some, though it's unclear at this point how many, were likely cast on or before Election Day and counted during a 48-hour grace period that followed it.
"We don't know the pure number of those that came in after Election Day and won't until, I'm guessing, tomorrow (Wednesday)," Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said in an interview Tuesday.
Minnesota was slated to wrap up its voting counts for the 2020 election on Tuesday having already counted most of the vote last week. The state declared for former Vice President Joe Biden and posted election results in numerous congressional, state and local races early Wednesday morning, Nov. 4, well before other parts of the U.S. had results of their own.
At least in Minnesota, no race results appear likely to change because of votes tabulated since last week.
"At this point, I can't say I know of any race on any level that was impacted by that," he said.
The new voting figures reported by the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office on Tuesday likely include votes from Election Day or earlier because lawmakers this year gave cities and counties an extra 48 hours to finish counting the votes they had on hand by that point. An agreement the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office reached with voting rights groups in court over the summer, meanwhile, allowed mail ballots postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 3, to be accepted and counted up to seven days later.
Shortly before Election Day, however, a federal appeals court panel ruled that Minnesota must "segregate" ballots arriving after Nov. 3 because their validity may be subject to additional lawsuits. As of Tuesday, Nov. 10, though, Simon said no such suits have been filed.
Simon said previously that his office would seek to preserve votes cast in state and local races in any suits centered on the presidential contest.
Mail-in voting ostensibly expanded in many states this election cycle to keep voters safe during the coronavirus pandemic. In Minnesota, voters applied for a record 2.1 million absentee ballots that could either be returned in person or by mail ahead of Election Day.
Approximately 1.85 million were returned and accepted, according to the secretary of state's website. Some of the outstanding ballots may not have been filled out and returned while others were canceled out by voters who requested them but instead chose to vote in person on Election Day.
Despite the high volume of mail voting, along with fears of civil unrest and voter intimidation, election officials and others said Election Day was relatively free of incident.
"Overall, similar to what I’ve seen in the past, Minnesota has very well-run elections. And I think this year was very similar to other years,” American Civil Liberties Union community engagement director for Minnesota Jana Kooren said.
More information on the number of mail votes that were not, for whatever reason, postmarked by Nov. 3 may come to light Friday, Nov. 13, when Minnesota cities and counties are required to certify election results. The same goes for Tuesday, Nov. 23, when Minnesota's state canvassing board will meet to certify statewide race results.
Asked about the number of mail ballots that missed the Nov. 3 postmark cutoff, the U.S. Postal Service referred back to local election officials for comment.
"The Postal Service is committed to delivering every piece of election mail as it has been presented to us," USPS regional spokesperson Nicole Hill said in an email.