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Oct. 14 deadline for early voter registration

WILLMAR -- First-time voters, people who have recently moved or those who have changed their name have until Oct. 14 to register in time to be on the voter roster at their precinct polls.

Minnesota voters can always register on Election Day, but with large crowds and long lines predicted, early registration is encouraged.

"It really does make it a lot easier and simpler for everybody," said Kandiyohi County Auditor Sam Modderman. Early registration will help election judges and voters, he said.

Modderman has seen an increase in voter registrations, with about half-dozen new applications arriving daily. "There's just a lot of activity going on already," he said.

The process to register isn't difficult.

Forms are available at county auditor's offices or online through the Minnesota Secretary of State's Web site. A link to that site is available at

The forms can be returned to the county auditor or the secretary of state.

For those who register early, there will be no action required Election Day.

Those who don't register ahead of time could end up waiting in line Election Day to get to the registration table. Besides completing the form, voters need proof of residency or would have to have someone vouch for them. After that, they would have to get back in line to vote.

That's a problem in large precincts with small voting facilities.

"In most cases there's going to be lines," Modderman said. "And you'll have to wait in two lines, probably."

New London Township, for example, has more than 1,900 registered voters and has a reputation for high voter turnout and new registrations. That can cause a bottleneck in the city's small town hall.

If the Oct. 14 deadline is missed, voters can complete registration forms and receive a notice of ineffective registration they can take to the polls with them.

They'll have to fill out the registration form again but the notice serves as proof of residency.

Pre-registration "just makes it so much easier for everyone involved," Modderman said. "The more we can get pre-registered, the better it is. No question about it."

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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