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When is the best time to vote on Election Day?

We all want to be able to get in and out of our polling place quickly, but when is the best time to vote?

MINNEAPOLIS - We all want to be able to get in and out of our polling place quickly, but when is the best time to vote?

We at KARE 11 wanted to find out, and what we learned may surprise you.

Hennepin County Election Manager Ginny Gelms helped us track down data from more than 400 polling locations during the 2016 election.

The numbers showed an average of 20,000 Hennepin County voters were checking in every hour on Election Day.

The busiest hour came right off the bat when the polls opened at 7 a.m., when more than 41,000 voters showed up at the polls.

The second, third and fourth busiest hours all came before noon.

“That’s when the numbers drop,” Gelms explains. “Surprisingly noon to 1 was the slowest hour of the day.”

In fact, the data shows only about 14,000 voters showed up at the polls from noon to 1 p.m.

“It’s a little counterintuitive because you’d think the lunch hour would be a popular time,” Gelms says.

The next slowest time was from 1-2 p.m. with just over 16,000 voters, and 6-7 p.m. with 17,000 voters.

So, if you’re looking to get in and out quickly on Election Day, those are the best three hours to do it: noon-1 p.m., 1-2 p.m., and 6-7 p.m.

However, it’s important to remember these numbers were from the 2016 election, which was a presidential year and carries its own unique set of variables.

Also, Gelms says every polling location is different and your experience may not match what the numbers show.

“If you live in an older district you might not see as many busy periods, because seniors have more flexibility to vote at all hours of the day.”

Gelms says most voters in Hennepin County can get in and out in 20 minutes or less, but if you really want to vote fast, she recommends voting early absentee.

“Most people are able to come in and get out in like 5 minutes,” Gelms explains.

However, there’s a catch - you need to get in early.

“You need to get in now before the weekend, like Wednesday or Thursday, because it will get busy,” Gelms explains.

“For example, in 2016, the day before Election Day at this absentee voting location, we had a line that snaked around the building and you were waiting at least an hour to vote.”

The city of Minneapolis just opened three early voting centers that will remain open until Election Day.

Gelms says many other cities and towns are also offering early voting hours this election.

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