Early voting by absentee ballot began Friday, Sept. 18, in Minnesota. The Office of Minnesota Secretary of State recommends voters who would like to utilize vote by mail apply for their absentee ballot before Friday, Oct. 2, to ensure it arrives on time.

All absentee ballots must be postmarked by election day on Nov. 3, 2020. Ballots in Breckenridge, Minnesota, will include federal, state and local offices.

A state district court approved a consent decree to amend tight vote-by-mail restrictions in Minnesota in June 2020, according to District Court records. The changes came after a group of voters supported by the National Redistricting Foundation (NRF) challenged the burdensome vote-by-mail process in Minnesota in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, according to the NRF website.

The amendments remove the state’s witness requirement for the general election and require that all mail-in ballots be counted as long as they are postmarked on or before Nov. 3, 2020, according to the NRF website.

However, the process of mail-in voting has had no changes in Wilkin County since COVID-19, Election Official Janelle Krump said.

Krump said vote-by-mail began in Wilkin County in 2018 and has increased voter turnout.

“We hope that continues, and with the state trends, believe that [vote-by-mail] will continue to increase the voter turnout,” Krump said.

To vote by mail, voters must apply online or on paper to have an absentee ballot sent to them.

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