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An Echo Press Editorial: You can help Nov. 6 go smoothly

The election is less than one month away. Are you ready?

It's easier than ever for voters in Minnesota to be prepared. You no longer have to wait through long lines on Election Day in order to register to vote, or to check and see if you are registered or to cast a ballot.

You can do it weeks ahead of time.

The process is easy as typing in a few letters. It all starts at www.mnvotes.org. Remember that website. Virtually of your questions can be answered through that site. If more voters used the site's resources, it would make the Douglas County's busy Election Day process go a lot smoother, according to Vicki Doehling, election administrator at the Douglas County Auditor's Office.

Voters benefit from pre-registering to vote:

• Newly registered voters receive mailed notification of their correct polling place.

• Pre-registered voters experience a quicker, more efficient voting experience in the polling place.

• Non-registered voters require extra time to process on election day — creating longer lines.

• Voters can avoid the extra proof of residence requirements when registering on Election Day.

• The statewide website makes it easy to pre-register online. It's easier than you may think. Just go to the website — www.mnvotes.org.

Other resources on www.mnvotes.org:

• Find out if you're currently registered or not.

• Find where you vote and voting hours.

• Vote early by applying for an absentee ballot.

• Track your absentee ballot.

• View your sample ballot.

• Search and view candidate information.

• Tips for new voters.

The website is a treasure trove of information. We urge all voters to spend a little time on it. You're almost guaranteed to learn something new.

For example, have you ever wondered how the order of the names on the ballot are determined? The website explains: Major partisan candidates are listed in reverse order of their average vote in the last election. Minor party partisan candidates are listed by lot. And the nonpartisan candidate list is randomly determined by statutory formula, and rotated according to a Candidate Rotation Algorithm spelled out by state law.

Or maybe you're faced with unusual circumstances this election and want to know how to register if you're in the military or living abroad, or if you're in a nursing home or hospital, or if you fear for your personal safety, or if your home was destroyed. The website answers all those questions.

Of course, not everyone has access to a computer. Never fear. You can still get ahead of the game by pre-registering in person at the Douglas County Auditor's Office, 305 8th Ave. W., Alexandria. Just make sure you do it before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

No matter how wide the political divisions are between voters, there should be one thing to agree on: Voting is a precious right. Exercise it before or on Nov. 6.

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