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Guest commentary: Early voting begins Friday

Thanks to a law passed in 2014, Minnesotans have the opportunity to begin voting by mail or in-person 46 days ahead of an Election Day. For the Aug. 14 primary, that day is Friday, June 29.

The law was authored by then-state representative and current Secretary of State Steve Simon. He was inspired to put "no-excuse absentee balloting" into place by his father, who had a medical condition that left in question if he would be able to get out to vote on Election Day.

Prior to the law, a person could vote early, but needed to provide an excuse as to why he or she couldn't vote on Election Day. With the new system, no excuse is needed.

Under no-excuse absentee balloting, people have the option to vote by mail or in-person. Instructions on how to vote by mail can be found at People can also vote at their county courthouses during regular business hours. Voting is also available the weekend before the election, as well as the Monday before Election Day. For the primary, that is Aug. 13. Minnesota has a long tradition of civic engagement and high voter turnout. With many statewide and local races on the primary ballot, many are expecting the highest primary voting numbers in years.