BEMIDJI-Across the state Tuesday-at the city, county and state levels --- Minnesotans came out in high numbers to vote, more so than in previous elections.
An estimated 2.5 million Minnesota citizens voted Tuesday, representing a 63.82 percent participation rate, according to the Secretary of State's office.
While that total lags behind the 2.9 million in the 2016 election, that was a presidential election year, but 2018 totals well surpassed the 1.9 million voters in the 2014 midterms.
"Minnesota elections are a model for the nation," Secretary of State Steve Simon said in a release. "Not only do Minnesotans value civic engagement, but you have demanded from your government a voting system that makes it as easy as possible for Minnesotans to exercise their voice and power at the polls."
The 63.82 percent, Simon said, is the highest for participation in a Minnesota midterm since 2002 and the largest raw total for a midterm in state history.
In Beltrami County, the Secretary of State website shows an estimated 18,053 citizens voting, exceeding both the 15,567 number in the 2014 midterms and the 16,187 citizens participating in the 2010 midterms.
"It looks like we ended up with a 74 percent voter turnout, which is very good for us," Beltrami County Auditor/Treasurer Jodee Treat said. "We also had a steady stream of people coming in and voting absentee most of that last week. So I think the early voting was really strong, too."
Throughout the city, the Bemidji mayoral race brought out 5,017 voters while the At-Large seat had 4,459 voters. While the total number of voters for the mayor's race was behind the 5,962 number from 2016, it was far ahead of the 4,104 amount in 2014.
According to Treat, making it easier to count the higher amount of votes this election cycle was new ballot equipment.
"It went really smoothly," Treat said. "The machines count faster, and they can detect markings easier. It's not only more efficient, it's also extremely accurate. It had us out of the building a little earlier last night, which is always good because it gets those results out earlier."
Outside of the Bemidji city limits, Bemidji Township and Northern Township had some of the highest precinct totals Tuesday. Bemidji Township had counted an estimated 1,309 votes, while Northern Township recorded an estimated 1,985 votes.
Comparatively, Bemidji Township's amount exceeded the 2014 midterms, which totaled 1,074 voters. For Northern Township, the number also exceeded the 2014 counterpart, where 1,832 voters turned out.
Other high turnout amounts this year from townships included 927 votes in Grant Valley Township, 775 in Frohn Township, Turtle Lake Township with 716 and Turtle River Township with 681.
"Whether or not our participation rate this year means we will maintain our No. 1 in the nation status, I will always consider you the best voters in our great country," Simon said in the release.