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      Requests High for Early Voting Ballots

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      Secretary of State John Gale says more voters have requested an early voting ballot for this year's primary election in the first five days than in the same time period in the last four state primaries.

      More than 23,000 requests have already been made this year. Over 2,500 have already been returned to county election offices.

      The number of early voters has increase dramatically since 2008 when only 480 requests were made for early ballots in the first five days.

      "Thecampaigns and third parties have certainly become more active in pushing forearly votes," explained Gale. "That transition started to happen right around 2008and has continued ever since."

      Prior to 1999 voters were required to say why they were requesting an early voting ballot -- then called an absentee ballot -- something that is no longer required.

      "Eliminatingthe justification for receiving an early voting ballot has made the processeasier for voters," Gale said.

      Registeredvoters can request an early voting ballot 120 days prior to theelection. The first wave of ballots went out April 7. They are due back intothe county election offices by the time polls close on Election Day, which is May 13. However, they will not be accepted at polling sites on Election Day.

      Voters also have the option to vote in person at their county election office until May 12.

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