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Minnesota Voters Have Their Say Today

September 9, 2008

St. Paul, MN – It's primary election day in Minnesota. Voters will narrow the list of candidates for various offices, including a closely-watched U.S. Senate race. Keesha Gaskins with the League of Women Voters says although primary turnouts are usually light, it's a gateway election and should be taken seriously.

"It is the primary that allows you to choose who goes forward to the general. It's really that threshold point, and so it is a really important part of the process."

One thousand new citizens will be sworn in today in a ceremony at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Gaskins says the League will be there to encourage them to cast their first votes.

"We're not only registering people, as we do at every citizenship ceremony in Minnesota, but we're also providing volunteers. So, when the new citizens come out of the ceremony, they'll have their voter registration cards, they'll have their naturalization papers and we can give them their polling locations. So they can actually leave directly from the ceremony to go vote."

She reminds would-be voters who haven't registered that they can do so today at the polls. People with questions about elegibility or other voting process issues can call the League's hotline, 1-877-580-5008.

The League has registered 15,000 new Minnesota voters since January 2007, Gaskins says. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is predicting just under 15 percent of voters, or 450,000, will turn out to vote today. Polls close at 8 p.m. tonight.

For more information online, visit http://www.lwvmn.org.

Jim Wishner/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - MN