MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A steady flow of people filed into Hennepin County’s election office Wednesday and waited their turn to cast their ballot in the 2014 November general election.

Deputy Secretary of State Beth Frazier says the use of absentee ballots is up 65 percent this year compared to the 2010 election.

“The pace is higher, is faster than it was in 2010,” Frazier said. “More people are voting absentee than they did in the last non-presidential election.”

She thinks new rules for the way Minnesotans vote has helped. This year, voters don’t need a valid reason to vote early.

“Prior to this year you had to have an excuse if you want to vote absentee,” Frazier said.

It’s too late now to get a ballot sent to you, but if you’ve requested one and haven’t gotten it yet, you can track it online.

“You can go in person to your county or city elections office and fill out a ballot right there and then,” Frazier said.

Many are doing just that. Officials say if you want your vote to count, this may be the way to go.

“At this point in the election cycle, with less than a week left, we would strongly encourage people to think about going to their county or their city election office to cast their ballot in person,” she said.

Ballots have to be in by 5 p.m. on Election Day. If you did request a ballot and did nothing with it, no worries — you can still take part in the election process.

“Even if you’ve applied for an absentee ballot or even if you’ve received it and haven’t sent it back in, you can still go to the polling place on Election Day,” Frazier said.

Many city and counties are adding hours at election offices to accommodate the number of people who will be trying to vote before Election Day.

All offices will be open on Saturday and Monday until 5 p.m.

Remember, if you haven’t registered you can do so in person at your polling place.

Reg Chapman