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State opens early voting in presidential primary

MARSHALL — Starting Friday, Minnesota voters became some of the first in the country able to cast ballots for this spring’s presidential primaries. However, although early voting officially started, there weren’t any ballots cast at the Lyon County Government Center on Friday, said County Auditor/Treasurer E.J. Moberg.

“It could be weather-related,” Moberg said — heavy snow and blizzard warnings kept many people at home.

Voters can vote at county courthouses around the state, as well as at early voting stations in some cities, the Associated Press reported. Voters can also request absentee ballots for the March 3 primary. But the votes won’t be counted until primary night.

In Lyon County, voters can visit the county Auditor/Treasurer’s Office, on the second floor of the government center. The office will be open on business days, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Moberg said there will also be some expanded early voting hours closer to the primary, and the county will work to let voters know about the hours.

Unlike at the upcoming state primary election in August, the presidential primary will have separate ballots for Democratic and Republican candidates, Moberg said. Voters need to request either a Democratic or Republican ballot. Their names will also be shared with the state’s major political parties.

Fifteen candidates are on the Democratic ballot, although some have already dropped out of the race. The GOP ballot lists only President Donald Trump, but write-in votes are allowed. It’s Minnesota’s first presidential primary since 1992, after years of using precinct caucuses to kick off the process of selecting national convention delegates.

Supporters of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s presidential campaign had early voting events scheduled across the state Friday, the Associated Press reported. Klobuchar was due to appear at a rally Friday night at the First Avenue nightclub in downtown Minneapolis with Gov. Tim Walz, Sen. Tina Smith and U.S. Rep. Angie Craig.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar was holding get-out-the-vote rallies in Minneapolis for Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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