Skip to main content

Walz, Ellison urge Minnesotans to vote, but be on guard for COVID-19 at events

Election Day is fast approaching.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison have issued a rare joint statement calling on Minnesotans to vote in the 2020 Election, but to take care when they do so.

While both Democrats, both are simply encouraging Minnesotans to vote — safely during the pandemic — in general, not for a specific party. 

In the past several elections, Minnesota has ranked among the top states for highest voter participation rates. In the 2016 presidential election, it ranked first with 75 percent of all eligible voters participating, joining a handful of states that broke the 70th percentile. In 2018, it set a new state record for participation in a midterm election with 64.2 percent, again ranking first nationwide. 

But this year's vote is complicated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is worsening as we approach the winter.

The Walz administration has also asked both the Biden and Trump campaigns to follow the state's safety requirements during voting and any ancillary political events or protests, with Ellison saying his office has reached out to the organizers of "70 large indoor and outdoor community events" in recent months to ensure they comply with COVID-19 safety requirements.

“With two weeks before Election Day, Minnesota is fully engaged in this momentous political season," Walz and Ellison wrote in a joint statement Wednesday. "While we welcome the opportunity for Minnesotans to participate in democracy, we must do so in a way that keeps our communities safe from COVID-19. The science is clear: Large numbers of people gathering for extended periods of time risks spreading this deadly virus.

“In these last 14 days, Minnesotans have countless ways to express their ideas and passions safely. We encourage all campaigns to protect the safety of Minnesotans. We all must do our part to combat the spread of COVID-19.”

While the risk of COVID-19 transmission heightens in large crowds, particularly indoors, the risk on Election Day itself is relatively low, with Minnesota health officials likening it to shopping at a grocery store while wearing face masks.

Like many other states, Minnesota is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, with 35 deaths reported on Wednesday the joint highest in a single day so far. Tuesday, Gov. Walz said on CNN he was "nervous" about the climb. 

Meanwhile, cases continue to climb in bordering states Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. 

More than 8 million Americans, including 120,000 Minnesotans, have contracted the virus, leading to 221,000 deaths nationally and more than 2,200 in the state. 

Next Up

money hundred dollar bills

Chanhassen psychologist pleads guilty to $550K billing fraud

Charles Howard Jorenby, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud in U.S. District Court late last month.

police lights squad car

Charges: Coon Rapids man had 25 pounds of cocaine from Mexico

Luis Javier Avila-Lopez, 38, was arrested after law enforcement seized the cocaine earlier this year.

Screen Shot 2022-12-04 at 9.16.52 AM

Responding to Twitter release, former Minnesota GOP candidate calls for 'bullets'

It was in response to a thread on Twitter concerning the social media giant's moderation efforts regarding political issues.


NWS: 'Safe to say' more active weather is ahead

Three rounds of light snow around Minnesota before more substantial precipitation becomes a possibility.


Hero dad who stopped carjacker who fled with his kids identified

A GoFundMe has been set up to support Derek Gotchie and his family following the incident.

Screen Shot 2022-12-03 at 4.35.18 PM

Watch: New London-Spicer wins 3A championship on incredible walk-off TD

New London-Spicer defeated the unbeaten Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in remarkable circumstances.


Suspect in woman's killing in Moorhead is arrested

James Kollie Jr. was arrested Friday evening.

Jennifer Carnahan

Former chair Jennifer Carnahan sues Minnesota GOP, which is suing her back

Carnahan stepped down under a cloud of controversy in August 2021.

Minneapolis Fire Department

One injured after leaping from burning vacant building in Minneapolis

Authorities say the building is known to be used by squatters.


Head-on crash leaves two drivers dead in southeastern Minnesota

The crash happened in Houston County just before 4 p.m. Friday.


Charges: Armed man made death threats at Minneapolis LGBTQ bar

The man allegedly used derogatory terms while threatening to kill someone.


voting plymouth -- A line to vote early in Plymouth on Oct. 28.

More than 1.7M Minnesotans have already voted

Election officials are reminding people with absentee ballots to not mail them.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz executive order protects COVID-19 aid from debt collectors

The action drew comment from GOP lawmakers, who have called for an end to Walz's emergency powers.

drop and go ballot plymouth

It's too late to mail your ballot, but you can still vote. Here's how.

Voters can drop off their absentee ballot, vote early in-person or head to the polls on Election Day.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 9.54.21 AM

Newly elected representative vows to flout Minnesota COVID-19 rules

He wrote to Gov. Tim Walz, inviting him to a backyard gathering ahead of Thanksgiving.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz: Minnesota at a 'critical point' in COVID-19 fight

Gov. Walz is imploring people to go and get tested for the virus.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz hits back at Gazelka, aide says he's been 'shockingly absent' during pandemic

Walz has responded to criticism from the Senate Majority Leader.

Gov. Tim Walz

Walz urges Minnesotans to 'double down' on COVID-19 efforts as fall arrives

The state says community transmission remains at 'high and sustained levels.'

Ballot drop off voting sign

More than 600,000 Minnesotans have already voted in the 2020 elections

The number dwarfs absentee voting by the same time in 2016.