The website Minnesotans can use to track their absentee ballots briefly went dark Saturday morning along with other parts of the state’s online voter registration system with just three days to go until the Nov. 3 election.

A spokeswoman for Secretary of State Steve Simon said access to the public-facing tools were restored midmorning, after an apparent “hardware issue impacting the online tools for voters.”

The problem also affected the Statewide Voter Registration System. Parts of that internal voter registration system remained offline late Saturday morning.

Secretary of State spokesperson Risikat Adesaogun said that voters should still be able to cast their absentee ballots during the outage thanks to a backup process for administering ballots when the voter registration system is down. Lines at in-person early voting sites may be longer, however, as a result, she said.

“People should still be able to vote, but it slows the process way down,” Adesaogun said of the backup process for checking registration and voter status at early voting locations.

The ballot tracking site, mnvotes.org/track, has seen an increase in interest as a record number of Minnesotans vote early this year. But those looking to check their ballot status early Saturday morning encountered an error message.

“We are currently conducting website maintenance,” the page read. “We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience. Please revisit this site at a later time.”

The public-facing site was back up and running by about 10:20 a.m.

Officials expected to see more Minnesotans drop off ballots or vote early in person this weekend following a federal court ruling leaving open challenges to the validity of mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day, even if they are postmarked by Tuesday.

Given the uncertainty, state officials are now urging voters who have not submitted their absentee ballots to drop them off or vote in person.

 

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