MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thirteen days until Election Day, and the number of early voters is exploding across the country.

In fact, two of the most important 2020 swing states — Minnesota and Wisconsin — are already setting records.

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Minnesota already has the highest voter turnout in the country, but this year it’s setting another historic record: The most mail-in votes, ever.

In Minnesota, 1.6 million ballots were requested, and 911,000 have been returned so far.

In Wisconsin, 1.5 million were requested, with 948,000 returned.

More than 40 million people nationally have already voted by mail, or in-person. That’s more than double 2016’s numbers. One of the reasons is pandemic safety. The other may be reaction to President Donald Trump’s false comments about mail-in ballot safety.

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Most states are safely accommodating early voters in the pandemic by expanding mail-in ballots, despite the president’s claims — without evidence — that mail-in ballots create “massive fraud” that could “rig” the election against him.

The president’s comments may be motivating Democrats. More than twice as many Democrats as Republicans are voting by mail.

It doesn’t mean Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden will defeat Trump. More Republicans are expected to vote in person on Election Day.

Every state has different rules for counting mail-in votes. In Minnesota, those ballots are already being tabulated. In Wisconsin, mail-in ballots won’t be counted until Election Day.

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Pat Kessler

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