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Secretary of State Talks Options for MN Voters

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In Minnesota, the deadline to register to vote by mail is Tues., Oct. 16. (Pixabay)
In Minnesota, the deadline to register to vote by mail is Tues., Oct. 16. (Pixabay)
October 1, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Election Day is still more than a month away, but Minnesota voters are already making their voices heard. In Minnesota, any registered voter can cast a ballot early, in person or through absentee ballot.

One week into the early voting period, Secretary of State Steve Simon said participation is high - up about 180 percent from 2014. He added with primary turnout off the charts, he expects that momentum to continue until November 6.

"The highest raw number of voters in a Minnesota primary since at least 1950, and the highest percentage since 1982; that tells me that people are fired up to vote,” Simon said. “And I would imagine we're going to see a continuation of that feeling on Election Day. "

The deadline to register to vote by mail is Tuesday, October 16, but registrations for in-person voting are allowed up through November 6. Minnesota has led the country in recent years for voter participation, which some attribute to same-day voter registration.

Simon said early voters who second-guess their choices after they cast a ballot do have options.

"What if you vote early and then you see a debate, or a tv ad or a scandal emerges and you want to change your mind on one or maybe more than one election contest? You don't have to worry about that,” he said. “Because under Minnesota law, until seven days before the election, you can go and fish your ballot out of the pile."

Polling shows folks over age 65 continue to show up for elections in greater numbers than younger voters. And Simon noted early voting is a great way to keep the older vote strong.

"For those who are seniors or approaching senior citizen status, that is a very useful and convenient way to vote,” Simon said. “You don't have to go to a place any more, you can have the ballot come to you."

A recent poll from AARP Minnesota showed a large number of voters age 50-plus are undecided, both in the gubernatorial election and the open U.S. Senate race. Analysts say these undecided older voters will have a strong voice in the outcome, given their historically large turnout in off-year elections.

Voting information from the Secretary of State's office is available at mnvotes.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MN