Early voting begins in Minnesota, other states ahead of November elections
Voters in Minnesota, Virginia, South Dakota and Wyoming on Friday began casting their ballots for the November elections as the early voting periods began in those states.
Starting Friday up until Nov. 2, voters in Virginia can submit ballots in-person at precincts across the state and may send in ballots by mail up until Oct. 23. Those who have requested absentee ballots in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wyoming may now cast their ballots in-person or by mail up until the day before Election Day.
Early voting in Minnesota comes as both President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are set to visit the state on Friday. Trump is scheduled to hold a rally in the evening at an airport in the city of Bemidji, while Biden is expected to go to a union training center in Duluth.
The Trump campaign hopes to flip the Midwestern state, which Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won in 2016 by just under under 45,000 votes. However, recent polling from FiveThirtyEight shows Biden leading the president by approximately 17 percentage points.
Tweets early Friday morning showed long lines already forming outside precincts, with one image capturing dozens of voters standing outside a Richmond, Va., building ready to cast their ballots six weeks before the official Nov. 3 elections.
There may be 6+ weeks until Election Day 2020, but early voting in Virginia actually starts today — and there are dozens of voters in line to vote in person even before the building here in Richmond, VA opens pic.twitter.com/LchWhknggp
— Amanda Golden (@amandawgolden) September 18, 2020
Other states, including New Jersey, Michigan, Vermont and Illinois, are set to begin early voting in the coming week, with 29 other states and the District of Columbia following suit throughout October.
Early voting comes as lawmakers and others have raised concerns about the safety of in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic. In response, several states have expanded absentee voting, with South Carolina voting Tuesday to allow all voters to cast absentee ballots in November’s elections.
Trump has continued to criticize mail-in voting, claiming without evidence that the practice leads to large-scale fraud.
“What they’re doing is using COVID to steal an election,” the president said last month. “They’re using COVID to defraud the American people, all of our people, of a fair and free election. We can’t do that.”