MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A record number of Minnesotans will be voting by mail in next week’s primary election as they seek to avoid the long lines and crowds seen at polling places in other states amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minnesota Secretary of State's Office says requests for absentee ballots for the upcoming August 11th primary election are running 10 times higher than for the primary election four years ago.

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As of Friday, about 545,830 absentee ballots had been requested.

The Star Tribune reported that voters will get more time to in their mail-in or absentee ballots as long as they are postmarked by August 11th, and received two days later.