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Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says Minnesota ready for broader early voting

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says he'll back legislative efforts to expand voting ahead of Election Day, though he's not sure what form that would take.

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Voters can now cast absentee ballots ahead of time but they technically need to have one of a handful of valid reasons for voting early. More than 30 allow some form of no-excuse early voting, with polling places popping up as early as September.

Ritchie said Tuesday he's confident Minnesotans are ready to allow a longer voting window.

The Democrat says early voting would probably boost turnout at the margins during busy election years and have more of an effect in off-year municipal elections.

Minnesota regularly leads the nation in voter turnout, with more than 76 percent of eligible voters casting ballots in 2012.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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