In Minnesota’s small towns, voting by mail takes root

The idea that we all have to trudge to a particular spot on the planet to cast a vote in an election is a relic of yesteryear and turnout numbers suggest it’s an ineffective one.

Curiously, in Minnesota, towns with fewer than 400 residents are allowed to hold elections by mail.

Zumbro Falls — population 241 — is the latest town to try the idea, Rochester Post Bulletin reports.

First of all, it costs a lot to hold an election. But a town official also suggests something has to be tried to get people to vote.

“I’m really a firm believer that this younger generation is not really about going to polls,” town clerk Susan Eischens said, figuring that voting by mail might improve things.

In Mower County, three towns use mail-in voting.

“We feel that it works better,” Amanda Kiefer, a deputy in the auditor/treasurer’s office, said. “Some residents do have some doubts” about security.

In Minnesota, voters have the option of voting early but communities are required to have polling places and election judges, occasionally a big expense when there’s low turnout.