Minnesotans have flocked to casting ballots before Election Day, leaving all previous records in the dust. Hubbard County is no exception as early voting boosts numbers.
Nearly 416,000 voters have already had absentee or mail-ballots accepted, according to numbers released Thursday, Nov. 3, by the secretary of state. That means about 13 percent of the Minnesotans who are registered to vote have already filled out their ballots.
The massive numbers of voters who cast ballots in advance of Nov. 8 show a huge uptick from previous years. In 2014, a low turnout election without the presidential race on the ballot, just under 150,000 Minnesotans cast absentee and mail ballots.
In Hubbard County, as of Thursday afternoon auditor Kay Rave said they had accepted 1,933 this year from September through Nov. 3, and she expects the county to receive as many as 800 before Election Day. Hubbard County accepted 1,449 early ballots in 2014.
The Hubbard County figures include mail ballots as well as absentee, and the county did pick up another mail ballot precinct this year, Akeley Township, which increased the mail ballot total by approximately 375 to 800.
A change in state law, plus efforts from campaigns, have moved Minnesotans toward voting early. For the first time in 2014, any Minnesotan could cast an absentee ballot, whether or not they had an excuse that would keep them from voting on Election Day.
Minnesotans can vote by casting absentee ballots in person at their local county election offices. Those offices must accept ballots, at a minimum, during normal business hours. They are also required to be open on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The offices are open the day before Election Day until 5 p.m. That in-person option is available only through Monday.
All absentee ballots must arrive at election offices by Election Day, Nov. 8.