Precincts were running out of primary election ballots between Hibbing, Eveleth and Duluth late in the day Tuesday, forcing election judges to make copies for hand counting later, City of Duluth and St. Louis County election officials said.
“Hibbing and Eveleth ran out of ballots,” said Jason Metsa campaign spokesperson Alida Tieberg, the first to alert the News Tribune.
In Duluth, three precincts also needed extra ballots, according to city clerk Chelsea Helmer.
The county’s director of elections, Phil Chapman said it’s nothing to be alarmed about and that it’s happened before. Is it a sign of high voter turnout?
“I believe so, yes,” Chapman said, after explaining, “We did have some precincts that ran out of ballots. What that means? There’s no real impact. We make copies of the ballot and hand count them later and we key in that total (with the state).”
Helmer agreed that it likely meant higher numbers at the poll and stressed it had no impact on voters.
“It’s really no change - your vote is your vote,” Helmer said. “It just doesn’t run through an automated counter, it gets hand counted - that’s the only difference.”
Chapman said there is no option to refill precincts with ballots.
“We ship them everything we’ve printed,” he said. “We run out, we make paper copies.”
Voters were still making it through the polls despite the hiccup, he said.
Helmer wasn’t aware of any voters who had to wait for ballots in Duluth.
“We had runners running out to all the precincts,” Helmer said.