1 in 10 eligible Minnesota voters have already sent in a ballot

In 2012, the state had just 183,000 ballots by this time. This year, it's a lot more.
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More than 400,000 Minnesotans have already voted.

The state has accepted 415,000 absentee ballots so far, the Secretary of State Steve Simon tweeted Thursday morning. That's about 10 percent of the 4 million or so people who are eligible to vote.

Simon also pointed out that, at this time in 2012 (the most recent presidential election), the state had accepted just 183,000 ballots.

And in a follow-up tweet, he again credited what's called no excuse absentee voting for the high figures.

Four years ago, in order to vote absentee you had to prove you physically couldn't get to a polling place. But in 2013, state lawmakers approved no excuse absentee voting – meaning any voter in Minnesota could cast a ballot absentee, for any reason. Even just "I feel like it."

2016 is the first presidential election in Minnesota with the no excuse absentee voting.

What to expect for turnout

Early voting has been open for weeks now – it's probably too late to request, fill out, and send back an absentee ballot by mail, since it has to be returned by Election Day. But you can still vote early in-person at any county election office (list here) or at one of the special locations set up by cities and towns (list here).

An average of about 2,793,373 Minnesotans have voted in each of the past four presidential election years – which is around three-quarters of total eligible voters. Presidential elections generally have higher voter turnout than the midterm elections (when only senators and representatives are up for a vote).

If that's about how many Minnesotans vote in 2016, about 14 percent of them have already cast a ballot absentee.

Here's a look at general election turnout since 2000, from the Secretary of State's Office.

To find news, commentary, and local events leading up to the 2016 election, head to Go Vote MN.

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