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Minnesotans start casting their ballots as early voting begins

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The election is a little more than six weeks away but voters in Minnesota can now cast their ballots.

Early voting is now underway and, in Hennepin County, absentee votes are being mailed out for those who've already requested them.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said, "Politics has a way of building community... It gives us chance to engage each other and I think that's a good thing."

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS caught up with early voters in the Twin Cities on Friday who said it's simply more convenient to vote now.

"I thought it would be convenient, better than beating the crowds on Nov. 3 or writing in so I know my vote, it’s not changing, so might as well do it today," said Steve O’Rourke, who voted early on Friday.

Voters told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they've already studied the candidates up and down the ballot, so why wait.

"I know who I’m going to vote for and that’s not going to change, so I just wanted to make sure I could kind of check that box," said Jack O’Rourke.

Ellison said early voting will also increase overall voter turnout.

"Early voting is critical because not everyone can get to the polls on Nov. 3. Trying to pack all of the voting in on one day means longer lines, it means people who have very difficult shifts that they work may not be able to get to the polls," Ellison said.

Ellison is reminding voters that they have options: "If you know what you want to do, get in there and get in there early and get it done, get that business done — get that business taken care of but if you still want to listen to some of the debates and information that you want to get your hands on, there's nothing wrong with taking your time a bit more."

Either way, Ellison has a message to voters ahead of Nov. 3: "This year, it's not good enough to vote, you've got to vote and get somebody else to vote."

Friday was also the first-ever National Black Voter Day. Ellison called it a day to address Black voter suppression. More than 40 civil rights organizations have teamed up to promote Black voter participation.

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