Absentee balloting has made voting much easier for Bea Arret over the last decade. Arret, an election judge for 35 years, is deeply immersed in the civic side of voting and in encouraging others to vote. The engaged 84-year-old, who resides in a Moorhead-area assisted-living facility, said she encourages her fellow residents to cast absentee ballots to make sure it’s easy for them to participate in elections. “It’s just so much more convenient,” she said. “I just encourage everybody else to do the same thing.” That’s why Arret, who worked with AARP against the voting constitutional amendment last fall, is thrilled with upcoming changes in state election practices.
In 2014, Minnesota will join nearly 30 other states in offering expanded access to the polling place, adding “no-excuse” absentee voting that means citizens no longer will have to fudge about why they want to vote early.
Voting-rights advocates are happy with the expansion but disappointed that the Legislature failed to approve early voting. More than half of the states now offer voters both options.