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Twin Cities residents head to the polls Tuesday to vote in the 2021 municipal general election. Counting will begin after the polls close at 8 p.m. — but when can we expect to see results?

First things first, if you'd like to watch results in real-time, stay tuned to Bring Me The News Live Blog Tuesday night. You can also track tabulation on the Minnesota Secretary of State's website.

As for timing, the City of Minneapolis provided some estimates, and the short answer is: It depends.

When it comes to the three ballot questions (read about the arguments for and against them here), we might have unofficial tabulations later Tuesday night. That's because they are simply yes/no questions, with blank ballots not counted. A ballot question needs at least 51% of the yes/no votes to pass.

St. Paul voters have one ballot question (rent control) to consider. If the same holds true, we could see results Tuesday night as well.

The mayoral and city council races in Minneapolis could (and likely will) take longer since they use ranked choice voting. Incumbent Mayor Jacob Frey is facing a strong push from challengers, including Kate Knuth and Sheila Nezhad. 

The city says the first-choice rankings should be available Tuesday night. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote after first-choice votes are counted, tabulation will continue Wednesday morning with second-choice votes. (The lowest vote-getter is eliminated, and the second-choice votes on those ballots are distributed to the remaining candidates.)

Minneapolis will do this tabulation in a specific order:

  • Mayor
  • City Council (wards in this order: 2, 8, 5, 4, 10, 6, 7, 1, 12, 9, 13, 11, 3)
  • Board of Estimate and Taxation
  • Park and Recreation Board at-large
  • Park and Recreation Board (districts in this order: 4, 5, 3, 1, 6, 2)

St. Paul also uses ranked choice voting for the mayoral race, so if results are tight, counting could extend into Wednesday as well. Mayor Melvin Carter is seeking a second term in that race. (St. Paul City Council seats are not on the ballot until 2023.)

Follow Bring Me The News' Election Night blog here.

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