In his closing statement Joe Perske (DFL) , who had been reserved and focused on the issues during the debate, took aim at Tom Emmer's (R) behavior and record in the Minnesota legislature that Perske characterized as "divisive" "bullying, threatening" and "uncooperative" not just to Democrats but to Republicans as well. Emmer declined to respond.
Minnesota’s new “no excuse” absentee ballot law is a hit with voters.
“This is great. This is much better”, said one voter at Minnetonka City Hall. “This went very smooth”, added another voter.
As of Thursday, Minnesota election officials have accepted 54% more ballots this year than the last non-presidential election in 2010 and that’s meant extra work and changes for cities where the ballots are filed and counted.
Before the law was changed by the legislature, a voter had to have an excuse to get and file and absentee ballot. The excuse could be travel, serving as an election judge or another valid reason that prevented them from getting to the polling place on election day. The ballot could be applied for by mail or by going in person to City Hall. The completed ballot could be mailed in or brought to the election office at City Hall. There was a single window where the ballot was dropped off.
With the new law, anyone can vote an absentee ballot without a specific reason. This has become so popular that the one window at Minnetonka City Hall is now replaced with a staff of election judges in the Council Chambers.
Minnetonka City Clerk David Maeda says that the volume of absentee voters is much like a presidential year and substantially larger than a typical mid-term election.
Political parties are pushing absentee voting by mailing out applications to voters. “We got from the county a box of about 500 absentee (ballot) applications that had been dropped off from from the various political parties”, said Laura Ronbeck, City Court Administrator of Special Projects and Elections for Minnetonka.
The latest numbers from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office show 152,070 absentee ballots have been distributed to voters for the November 4 General Election, of which 69,561 have been returned to and accepted by election officials — more than 31,000 in the past week alone.
The 69,561 accepted ballots to date in 2014 compares to 114,383 this time in 2012, and 42,052 in 2010.
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