m4880 BC-MN-MonitoringtheVote 7thLd-Writethru 11-04 0595

Minnesota’s voters line up early to cast ballots

Eds: RECASTS lede; UPDATES throughout; TRIMS pvs.

AP Photos MNJM101-107, MNMAN101-102, MNMIT101, MNBRA102


Associated Press Writer


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Shannon Burns was well aware of the historic nature of Tuesday’s presidential election between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, and she wanted to capture the moment.

"I can’t wait to show our grandchildren this one day," Burns said as she photographed herself and her 6-year-old daughter, Arie, at a polling place in St. Paul. Burns, who is black, said she voted for Obama.

"Yesterday, (my daughter) asked me if she could be president and I told her, ’Absolutely,"’ Burns said. "I don’t think there is a lot of black children who have asked that before."

Long lines greeted many Minnesota voters. Few problems were reported as citizens drove turnout close to a record that has stood for 52 years.

Even before the polls opened, several Minnesota polling places had more than 100 people in line. Waits of over an hour were reported at several polling places, primarily in the morning. Unusually good weather, with temperatures in the 60s and low 70s and sunny skies across much of the state, helped.

A truck hit a utility pole in St. Paul, knocking power out for about 90 minutes to two polling locations. Joe Mansky, Ramsey County’s elections manager, said voting continued at those sites. Election judges said the ballots were kept secure at one of them until the power was restored, while a backup generator kicked in at the other.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s office received some isolated secondhand reports of scanners malfunctioning. But John Aiken, a spokesman for the office, said those machines were being repaired or replaced, and all the ballots would be counted.

"Across the state things are going well," Aiken said. "Turnout is heavy and the secretary is certainly hoping we’ll reach that 80 percent in 2008. I think we’re on the mark. These small glitches aside, we’re hoping we can meet that ambitious goal."


Turnout in Minnesota hasn’t been that high since 83 percent of eligible voters took part in 1956.

The Election Protection watchdog group said the majority of problems its volunteers had seen were "honest mistakes by undertrained pollworkers and overwhelmed election officials."

Amy Newton, 25, of St. Paul, said she voted for McCain because of her anti-abortion views and McCain’s experience. Newton said her brother returned from Iraq last week and "having heard what he is going through, I find myself needing to support someone with military experience for commander in chief."

Anthony Daniel, 46, brought his 7-year-old daughter, Nia, and 8-year-old son, Jerrell, along as he voted for Obama in the St. Paul suburb of Woodbury. When asked why he was supporting Obama, Nia tugged at his arm and said: "I know that. Because he’s the first brown president like us."

Daniel said that wasn’t his main reason — the economy and fairness were top factors. But he said he was glad he could bring his children to watch him vote.

"It’s part of history. I wanted them to be a part of it," he said.

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