St. Paul voter turnout ‘may well be the lowest’ in 40 years

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman fills out a ballot at Baker Recreation Center in St. Paul, Minn. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. (MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson)

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman won in a landslide in this year’s election, but voter turnout may have been historically low.

Coleman won a third four-year term with more than 78 percent of first-choice votes. However, only 30,518 first-choice votes were cast in the city-wide election out of about 218,000 eligible voters in St. Paul.

“As best I can tell, it’s the lowest turnout we’ve had in an election for mayor in at least 30 years,” said Ramsey County elections manager Joe Mansky. “It may well be the lowest turnout we’ve had in a mayoral election since we went to fall elections” more than 40 years ago.

It’s a big change from last year, when the city saw a near record voter turnout in an election that featured a presidential race.

Beyond the St. Paul mayoral vote, a special City Council election in Ward 1 didn’t have enough first-place rankings to settle the contest between contenders Noel Nix and Dai Thao. That means second choice rankings will likely decide the election.

While officials in Minneapolis are wrapping up counting the ranked choice ballots in the mayoral race, it could be six more days before St. Paul’s elections are final.