Early Voting Supported

Minnesota voters could cast ballots in person during the weeks leading up to Election Day under a bill senators supported Friday.

Minnesota would join states that offer early in-person voting. Voters could cast ballots at designed polling places during a two-week window before Election Day.

The election bill, which senators preliminarily approved, also moves the state primary election from early September to the first Tuesday in June. Supporters said that would provide more time to process ballots, particularly from soldiers serving overseas, but opponents said political campaigns are long enough with a September primary.

Bill sponsor Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, said the elections package is in part a response to problems detected during Minnesota’s unresolved U.S. Senate race.

The bill modifies absentee ballot requirements and prevents the courts from allowing candidates to decide whether certain absentee ballots are counted, as was allowed in the Senate election recount.

Senate Republicans’ effort to require that voters provide photo identification at the polls was rejected.