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Monday, July 26, 2010

Vacationing in August? Don’t forget to vote

August is when many Minnesotans take vacations from hectic work schedules. But this year Minnesotans who are planning to be away from the state on Tuesday, August 10 will miss the chance to vote in one of the most highly contested Minnesota primary elections in recent history – unless they plan ahead.

This year, Minnesota passed a law moving the primary election from September to August to comply with a new federal law lengthening the legally required absentee balloting period for military and overseas voters from 30 to 45 days. Under Minnesota’s former political calendar, the primary election would have occurred on September 14, leaving only three days for candidates to campaign before absentee voting for the general election is required to open on September 17.

With as many as five candidates vying for one spot on the ballot, each vote is crucial to help narrow the field of candidates for the general election. Those who will be out of town on August 10 should make sure they request an absentee ballot in time to vote before then. To cast an absentee ballot, voters must already be registered (the registration deadline was July 20), but they can still register at their polling location on the day of the primary election if they will be in town.

More information about the primary elections, voting districts, and voter registration can be found on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.