ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — Absentee voting begins Friday for Minnesota voters who can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, which is 46 days away.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says he expects almost 300,000 people to vote as absentees this year, as Minnesota is expected to cast the most absentee votes out of any state.

“More and more people are choosing that option,” he said. “We expect to get 10 percent of our overall population.”

State law allows absentee voting for voters who won’t be home on Election Day or can’t vote then for other reasons, including illness or disability, religious observance, an officially declared emergency or service as an election judge.

Absentee voting is available in person at county auditors’ and some municipal clerks’ offices, or by mail.

In-person absentee voting continues until 5 p.m. the day before the election. Those offices are also open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Saturday before the election.

To vote by mail, voters must submit an application and get the absentee ballot back to local election officials by Election Day. Voters can track their ballot online.

Minnesotans do a good job of filling out the ballot itself, but when it comes time to sealing up the back envelope, and filling out the back portion of the envelope, there’s a problem. About 4.5 percent do it wrong and each wrong one means a ballot won’t get counted.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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