Election season is underway

November’s election may seem a long way off, but as of June 24 it will be possible to cast an early/absentee vote for federal, state and county candidates in the Aug. 9 primary.

To apply to have a ballot mailed to you, go to www.ramseycounty.us/residents/elec tions-voting. Or you can vote early/absentee in person at the Ramsey County Elections Office, 90 W. Plato Blvd. You can also register to vote online. Being registered is not required in order to apply for an absentee ballot, but it will speed up the process if you are.

Absentee/early voting for the Nov. 8 general election will begin Sept. 23. Beginning Aug. 2, early voters at the Ramsey County Elections Office will use new equipment and software that will be in place countywide on Election Day. Although it will look no different from the optical-scan systems in place for the last 15 years, Joe Mansky, Ramsey County elections manager, said there are two key differences, both of which relate to the integrity of the system.

“When voters place their ballots into the ballot counter, the counter will take about five seconds to scan and compile the votes marked on the ballot,” Mansky said. “Then the indicator lights will turn green, meaning that the ballot has been counted.”

Mansky is confident the new feature will be reassuring to voters. “It’s also a completely nonnetworked voting system, meaning that it will be extremely secure,” he said. “There are no phone lines or wireless connections to permit hackers to potentially disrupt the voting process.”

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