Voting? In August? Get prepared for it

A measure to move up Minnesota's primary from September was approved in the House.

Get ready to vote in August.

The Minnesota House overwhelmingly approved a measure Thursday to change the cabin season into a primary season by switching the state's primary from September to Aug. 10.

The House voted 126-5 on the measure. The Senate unanimously approved a similar measure last week. The Senate may vote to send the bill to Gov. Tim Pawlenty early next week.

Pawlenty has expressed support for the move, which would help military and other overseas voters get their ballots in on time and helps Minnesota comply with a new federal law.

So long as it's a clean bill, Pawlenty said Thursday, "it's a no-brainer."

During debate, Republican and DFL representatives voiced concerns about the move and made several failed attempts to change it.

"I believe that there will be fewer people that will vote in August than September," said Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul. He also said the move would lengthen the political season.

Hansen, Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, Rep. Maurie Lanning, R-Moorhead, Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, and Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, voted against the measure.

Rep. Laura Brod, R-New Prague, argued for it. She said primary turnout has more to do with competition and voter interest than dates. She said campaign seasons would be long anyway.

"This will allow us to have a better process," she said.

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger 651-292-0164 Staff writer Baird Helgeson contributed to this story.

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