With a competitive gubernatorial primary, 15 legislative primaries and a new law allowing anyone to vote absentee, more Minnesotans are voting early.
According to the Secretary of State's office, as of Thursday more than 2,000 Minnesotans had successfully cast absentee ballots for the August 12th primary.
That's more than previous years at similar points in the election cycle. In 2010, by July 18, only 1,500 Minnesotans had cast absentee ballots. That year, the first when Minnesota had an August primary rather than an election in September, featured a DFL primary for governor as well as several hot local races.
This year, for the first time, Minnesotans do not need to give an excuse for why they want to vote absentee. That change, plus encouragement from political campaigns to vote early, may explain the uptick in absentee ballots.
Gov. Mark Dayton indicated Tuesday the strong possibility of a special legislative session next month to help Mille Lacs resorts and other area businesses that could face tough times if the walleye season is cut short, as seems likely.