Just about everything is different in 2020, and the November election is no exception. One of the biggest differences generating conversation this year is that there might not be a clear winner on election night.

It’s natural to feel discomfort about not having all the answers right away, but one of our most important rights as Americans is the right to vote and to have a fair election. Our election officials have a duty to ensure that every eligible vote is counted. I am confident they will count and verify every ballot cast.

It is going to take longer to count the votes and verify a winner in the election – and that’s OK.

This year, it appears that more people are voting and voting absentee than ever before. Absentee ballots take longer to count because of security measures to verify the accuracy of those ballots. Election judges go through every ballot by hand to ensure that each voters’ information is accurate. Minnesota has one of the safest and most secure elections systems in the country, and is well-known for leading the nation in voter turnout. This is especially true in Olmsted County. More than one million Minnesotans have already voted early.

I am proud of the efforts across our state and nation being made to encourage every eligible voter to get out and vote and to do so in a way that is right for them. Whether this is your first time being eligible to vote or if you have not voted in a long time, you have a variety of options to cast your ballot safely. Options include mail-in/drop off absentee, direct balloting, or voting on Election Day, which is Nov. 3.

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We should be proud of our high voter turnout and our modern election system, which assures accuracy. This year, we also need to be patient so election officials can take the time to make sure every eligible vote is counted accurately. When our election officials take the time to count and verify every ballot, that’s a sign that our democracy is working. If you have not yet voted, make a plan to vote!

Kim Norton has been mayor of Rochester since 2019.