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Early voting off to a brisk start

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Minnesota election officials says 'no excuses' early absentee voting got off to a fast start.

Absentee voting began on Friday.

As Monday morning nearly 72,000 people had either picked up ballots at elections offices or requested to have a ballot mailed to them, according to  Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.

Simon says that's more than twice the number at this time two years ago when absentee voting without an excuse became legal in Minnesota.

"I'm very happy about it,"he said. "I think it's a good sign for voter turnout in general, hopefully getting us back to number one in the country in voter turnout where we were for so long."

Simon also says nearly 47,000 Minnesotans used the state's online system to register to vote last week, setting an all-time record.