MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans are proud to say they lead the nation in turnout, and a change in state law meant some people voted early instead of waiting for Election Day.

Before most of us made our way to the polls Tuesday morning, however, the state had already received around 189,000 absentee ballots. Some folks cast their votes back in September.

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Minneapolis voter Aaneesh Amatullah says the more options to vote, the better.

“I think you stand a chance of getting more voters out if you can give them a lot more leeway as far as time frame to vote. It’s stressful when people are trying to figure out, ‘oh, I got to vote, I gotta figure out before or after work, between errands,'” she said.

On late Tuesday afternoon, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie projected voter turnout of 55 to 60 percent in this midterm election, compared to 56 percent four years ago.

Ritchie says for the last few decades, Minnesota has led the country in voter turnout with about 60 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.

“We’ve been No. 1 in the nation for all of these last few decades. We see that pattern continuing, as long as we keep bringing out 18-year-olds into the process,” Ritchie said.

Ritchie says having a large number of people vote before Election Day could eventually save the state some money.

“Because our polling places, if they don’t have as many people [there] on Election Day, they can have fewer expenses, fewer staff, that kind of thing,” Ritchie said.

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At City Hall in Blaine, we found people who like sticking with tradition, holding out until the big day to cast their ballots.

“I like the tradition. I like to do it on Election Day. It’s an event. It’s why I got out of bed today,” voter Steve Cundiff said, laughing.

Janie Deluce, of Blaine, says her teenage son came with her to vote.

“My son, it is his first year to vote. He is 18. He is so excited. He is in the car waiting,” Deluce said.

Minnesota had around 62,000 more absentee ballots this year, compared to four years ago. Typically, in a presidential election, we will have 3 million voters in Minnesota.

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