Early voting is off to a brisk start in Minnesota.
The Office of the Secretary of State reported Thursday that number of absentee ballots requested is up more than 60 percent in the first week of voting compared to the same time two years ago. That’s likely due to the larger slate of contested races this time around, from governor to attorney general to several congressional seats.
So far, nearly 17,000 absentee ballots have been requested since voting opened last Friday. People can ask to have a ballot sent to them or can complete one at a local elections office. About 10 percent of the absentee ballots had been filled out and returned by voters as of Thursday morning.
More than 40 percent of the ballots have been requested by residents of Hennepin County, which is home to a crowded DFL primary for the open 5th Congressional District seat.
The figures don’t include ballots automatically sent to voters in some greater Minnesota precincts that vote exclusively by mail.
Primary election day is Aug. 14.