By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Friday is the first day for early voters to cast their ballots in Minnesota, and some were willing to wait for an hour to vote.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a few things with voting this year. Masks and social distancing are required at all polling sites and there are Plexi glass barriers between voters. Also, extra sanitizing efforts will be enforced including wipes at every booth and bins for used pens. There’s even curbside voting for those who don’t want to get out of their car.

“We are strongly encouraging people to vote from home, however, we need to service all our voters,” said Grace Wachlarowicz, director of elections and voter services for the city of Minneapolis.

The long lines in Roseville at the Ramsey County Library were a strange sight to see this year, and some weren’t willing to wait.

“I’ll just come back another time,” said Lauderdale voter John Polanski, who decided not to wait in Roseville.

RELATED: Where Do Voters Seeking To Vote Absentee This Year Start The Process?

Some voters are committed to getting their ballots in early, with plenty more still set to vote by mail. The Minnesota Secretary of State said that as of Friday, more than a million Minnesotans have already requested an absentee or mail-in ballot.

And in the midst of a global pandemic, WCCO had to ask: Why show up in person if you don’t have to?

“I really wanted to do it just to make sure it got in so there wasn’t any issues with the ballot. I didn’t want to have to worry about any delays or anything like that,” said Minneapolis voter Paul Walker.

“There’s too much identity theft out there,” Polanski said.

“I don’t blame the post office but the way things are going now with their funding being cut I just didn’t trust it,” Sharon Powell said.

In Wisconsin, early in-person voting varies by community, and begins on Oct. 20.

If you requested a mail-in ballot but want to vote in person in Minnesota, that is allowed. Just don’t fill out your mail-in ballot.

Early voting at designated centers continues in Minnesota until Nov. 2.

For more information on voting early or applying for an absentee ballot, click here.

Erin Hassanzadeh

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