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Mail-in ballots pick up steam in rural southwest Minnesota

REGIONAL — In more southwest Minnesota townships than ever, mail-in ballots are being dropped off at homes.

For the 2018 election, 35 new precincts in the six southwestern-most counties switched over to mail-in ballots. For most, the option was a way to save taxpayer money by forgoing election judges and purchasing modern voting equipment.

Jackson and Pipestone County had large numbers of precincts switch over to mail-in ballots. In Rock County, Luverne and Hills are the only cities remaining with polling places.

Any rural townships or cities with less than 400 registered voters can choose to hold elections by mail. Those who wish to vote in person can do so at their respective county auditor’s offices.

Ballots should arrive to homes approximately 30 days before the Aug. 14 primary election.

Below is the full list of precincts with mail-in balloting.

Nobles County (10 of 40 precincts). Returning: Bloom Township; Kinbrae. New for 2018: Elk, Graham Lakes, Leota, Lorain, Olney, Westside and Worthington Townships; Dundee.

Rock County (18 of 24). Returning: Battle Plain, Beaver Creek, Denver, Kanaranzi, Luverne P1, Luverne P2, Magnolia, Mound and Vienna Townships; Hardwick, Jasper, Kenneth, Magnolia. New for 2018: Rose Dell and Springwater Townships; Beaver Creek, Steen.

Murray County (16 of 29). Returning: Chanarambie, Ellsborough, Holly, Leeds, Lime Lake, Lowville, Mason, Moulton, Murray and Skandia Townships; Avoca, Currie, Dovray, Hadley.

New for 2018: Fenton Township.

Pipestone County (17 of 22). Existing: Gray Township. New for 2018: Aetna, Altona, Burke, Eden, Elmer, Fountain Prairie, Grange, Osborne, Rock, Sweet and Troy Townships; Hatfield, Holland, Ihlen, Ruthton, Woodstock.

Jackson County (11 of 28). Returning: Heron Lake Township. New for 2018: Alba, Enterprise, Rost, Wisconsin, Belmont, Ewington, La Crosse, West Heron Lake Townships; Alpha, Okabena.

Cottonwood County (1 of 29) Returning: Delton Township.

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