Secretary of State: Minnesota voter turnout up 177% over 2016 caucuses

Minnesota's switch from caucuses to primary elections seems to have boosted voter turnout, according to a news release from the Secretary of State's Office.

Unofficial results indicate that more than 885,000 voters, or 21.7% of eligible voters, participated in the statewide primary, an increase of 177% over the 2016 caucuses, Secretary of State Steve Simon said.

"I likened this primary to ‘jumping off the dock into the lake together’ — we took the plunge with our partners at the cities and counties, as well as the voters of Minnesota," Simon said in the statement.

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Simon credited the 46-day absentee voting period as a contributor to the higher turnout.

It was Minnesota's first binding primary for both parties since 1956. Minnesota last held a primary on April 7, 1992; the contest was binding for Republican voters, but the DFL decided to award its delegates at the Democratic National Convention based on the results of the caucuses held on March 3, 1992.

The increased turnout also comes in a year in which incumbent President Donald Trump was the only candidate listed on the Republican ticket.

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With 100% of precincts reporting, former Vice President Joe Biden won the Minnesota Democratic primary with 38.6% of the vote, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders came in second with 29.9% and Elizabeth Warren received 15.4%.

Michael Bloomberg, who dropped out of the race for the presidential nomination Wednesday, got 8.3% of votes and failed to meet the 15% threshold to receive delegates. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar had 5.6% of votes despite dropping out of the race prior to Super Tuesday.