Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon announced Thursday that 415,986 absentee and mail-only ballots have been accepted for the coming Nov. 8 election. 

This is the first presidential election year in which Minnesotans are allowed to vote absentee without requiring an actual excuse, which voting experts say is akin to early voting. 

The total far surpasses the 2014 early vote figure -- fewer than 150,000 at this point -- the first year of "no excuses" absentee balloting. 

Presidential election years draw higher turnout, but Minnesotans may also be warming to the idea of early voting, especially given a big push from the parties' get-out-the-vote operations. 

About 40 percent of the accepted ballots came from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties. 

The latest early vote tally would be about 14 percent of total turnout, if the 2016 turnout is roughly the same as 2012. 

The Secretary of State will provide a final early vote count Monday. 

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