MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesotans will get to be the first people in the nation to cast ballots in the presidential race.

Starting tomorrow, early voting in the state’s presidential primary will begin.

The controversy over the privacy of your primary ballot is a big issue.

The city of Minneapolis unveiled a new early voting center in Northeast Minneapolis.

“We have been training preparing for a unique situation,” Minneapolis Director of Elections Grace Wachlarowicz said.

Minnesota’s first presidential primary in decades is already controversial . Unlike other Minnesota voting contests you will have to declare which primary, DFL or Republican, you are voting in. Minneapolis election judges have been trained in discretion.

“We focused on voter service to provide this service respectfully and with dignity without announcing a political affiliation,” Wachlarowicz said.

While the early voting starts this week, the controversy over having to declare which party primary you are voting in is only likely to intensify.

The information about which primary you vote in will be sent to all the major political parties, and there is no restrictions on what the parties can do with that information.

“There is no set of guard rails here and there needs to be,” MN Secretary of State Steve Simon said.

Simon will propose a bill the first day of the legislature next month to limit how parties can use your information.

“It’s not the Minnesota way, since statehood we have not had party registration,” Simon said.

The GOP primary ballot gives you just one choice: President Trump. The Democrats ballot gives you 16 choices – including the option to vote for some candidates that have already dropped out.

Early voting is open until Super Tuesday — which is March 3rd. That’s just 46 days away.

Click here to learn where you can cast your early ballot or request a mailed absentee ballot.

Esme Murphy

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