Klobuchar's exit shows a downside of early voting in Minnesota

Sen. Amy Klobuchar gives a speech
Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks at a presidential campaign rally in Las Vegas last month.
Alex Wong | Getty Images file

Minnesota DFLers will have 15 presidential candidates from which to choose on Super Tuesday.

Just five of those candidates’ campaigns remain active just a day before the presidential primary.

It’s likely that tens of thousands of Minnesotans have already cast ballots for DFL presidential candidates whose campaigns are now defunct.

As of Friday, more than 94,000 Minnesotans had requested absentee ballots, mostly for the DFL presidential primary (the Republican primary isn’t competitive in the state; only President Trump is on the ballot).

More than 57,000 DFL ballots had been accepted, according to Secretary of State Steve Simon’s office. People who vote early can cancel their vote, but only up until the close of the business day one week before the election.

DFL early voting lowest in metro
David H. Montgomery | MPR News

Recent polling of Minnesota voters found that most of them supported their home-state Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s bid for president. She had a 6-point lead over frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders in last week’s MPR News/Star Tribune Minnesota Poll, which put Klobuchar at 29 percent support.

If actual votes mirror the polling, more than 16,500 people would’ve cast early votes for Klobuchar. Pete Buttigieg — who dropped from contention Sunday night and had 3 percent support in the Minnesota Poll — would’ve had over 1,700 early votes in Minnesota.

Of course, those calculations are only an estimate, but they illustrate how voting early in a dynamic campaign could mean that your vote ends up going to a candidate that is no longer in the race.

Minnesota has had “no-excuse” absentee voting since 2014. It has increased in popularity since its inception.

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