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South Dakota Republicans offer bill to shorten early voting period

South Dakota Republicans offer bill to shorten early voting period
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Republican lawmakers in South Dakota have introduced a bill to shorten the early voting process from 46 days to 14, KELO reported Thursday.

One of the bill’s co-sponsors, state Rep. Carl Perry, told the outlet he believes the early voting period is too long.

The bill proposes a two-week voting period, but Perry said he is willing to negotiate on the length.

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Thirty-nine states plus the District of Columbia offer some sort of early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The average early voting period lasts 19 days.

Perry told the outlet that he believes the original reason for early voting was to accommodate absentee voters, but he said it was now used by any voter who wants to cast an early ballot.

The early voting period before November’s midterm elections saw hundreds of thousands of new voters. 

Nearly 24 million people cast early or absentee ballots by the week before the midterm elections, according to data collected by University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald.

“Young people tend to vote in larger numbers during the week prior to the election, and we're seeing some evidence that young people are indeed starting to turn out,” McDonald told The Hill.

At least 27 states surpassed the number of early votes cast in the entire 2014 election. 

Young voters are also more likely to favor Democrats over Republicans in congressional elections by a 66 percent to 32 percent margin, according to a poll conducted for the Harvard Institute of Politics.