ST. PAUL — At least 2,447 mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day but delivered within the seven following days have been counted by Minnesota election officials as of Friday, Nov. 13.
Ballots fitting that description were accepted as late as as Tuesday, Nov. 10, and, per a federal court order, are being held separately in case their validity is challenged in court.
They make up only a fraction of the ballots cast by an estimated 3.2 million voters in Minnesota last week.
In a tweet Friday, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon called the relatively low number of ballots delivered after Tuesday, Nov. 3, a "huge success."
"Thanks to all who worked so hard to tell absentee voters to get their ballots in early! It clearly worked," he said.
Election officials and voting right's groups had been calling for Minnesota voters to turn in their absentee ballots early after a federal court panel last month ordered late arriving ballots in the state to be "segregated." The panel took issue with an earlier decision Simon's office reached with voting groups in court that allowed ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 and arriving by Nov. 10 to be accepted through and counted.
Ballots that arrived after Election Day and bearing the correct postmark were still counted toward final voting tallies but have been set aside in case of future litigation. Secretary of State's office spokesperson Risikat Adesaogun said Friday that no lawsuits targeting the ballots have yet been filed.
The initial suit challenging Minnesota's extended deadline was one of many Republican-led efforts in the U.S. to undo recent voting rule changes that election officials made nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic. The expansion of mail-in voting in many states may have contributed to the record turnout observed in the 2020 general election, which drew nearly 80% turnout in Minnesota alone.
Simon said in his tweet Friday that the number of segregated ballots accounts for those received by 83 of Minnesota's 87 counties. The outstanding four may not have provided information on the number of ballots they segregated because, according to Adesaogun, they are not necessarily required to.