Early voting bill approved

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Minnesota voters could cast their ballots as early as two weeks before Election Day under a measure approved by a House committee.

Under HF1113, Minnesota would join 31 others states that allow their residents to vote early. Its sponsor, Rep. Will Morgan (DFL-Burnsville), said it would address a growing demand from members of the public whose desire to vote sometimes conflicts with their busy work schedules and personal lives.

“We think it’s a matter of convenience for the voters,” Morgan said.

Ryan Anderson, a board member of the Minnesota State University Student Association, said the option to vote early would be especially helpful to students, who could work around their class schedules and also make time to go vote in their home precincts.

Opponents, including Rep. Steve Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud), raised concerns that the bill might complicate the voting process and that county elections offices could incur additional staff costs.

The House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee approved the bill and referred it to the House Finance Committee. Sen. Katie Sieben (DFL-Newport) sponsors the companion, SF970, which awaits action by the Senate State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee.

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