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Huge Number Of Early Voting Ballots May Signal High Primary Turnout

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota election officials say they are seeing unusually high interest in the August primary.

That is based on the number of voters requesting early primary ballots.

This is very unusual for a summer primary election, and is something much different from anything we've seen in many years.

It is partly because there are contested races for governor, attorney general and Congress.

The Secretary of State's office is reporting that 31,829 ballots have been requested and 16,203 votes have already been cast. Compared to the same time during the 2016 presidential race, only 14,691 had been requested, and only 7,063 returned.

Hennepin County Election Director Ginny Gelms says it is a possible sign of high voter turnout.

"It used to be that you needed to have an excuse to vote absentee, you don't anymore," Gelms said. "Once that changed, more and more people with each election have chosen to go this method for voting, and that trend continues. But we've seen … compared to the comparable election four years ago, we've seen just a huge increase even over that."

The primary is August 14.

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