Absentee votes already rolling in

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, October 13, 2012

Elaine Delhanty, right, and Sandy Bustad, both absentee ballot election judges, enter absentee ballots into the county and state systems Friday afternoon. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

More than 300 people have already cast their votes in Mower County for the upcoming November election.

As of Friday, more than 600 voters in Mower County and more than 100,000 in Minnesota had requested absentee ballots. More than 300 ballots have already been received locally, according to Auditor-Treasurer Doug Groh, who added many more are on the way.

“Historically, 11 percent of the voters in Mower County vote by absentee ballot,” Groh said.

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Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said about 41,000 have already been returned by voters and accepted in the state.

Groh expects to receive about 2,200 absentee ballots in Mower County. About 988 people absentee voted in 2010 when there was no presidential race. In the last presidential election year, 2008, about 2,167 people absentee voted.

State law allows absentee voting for those who won’t be home on Election Day or can’t vote then for other reasons, including illness or disability, religious observance, an officially declared emergency or service as an election judge. Absentee voting is available in person at county auditors’ and some municipal clerks’ offices, or by mail.

The Bemidji Pioneer reports one factor that may increase absentee voting is the deer hunting season which opens on Nov. 3 this year. Many hunters will be away from home and unable to cast a ballot on Election Day, Nov. 6.

However, don’t expect any early results. The ballots are only verified and stored, and Groh said they can’t be counted until November.