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Published February 20, 2013, 08:43 AM

Senate panel studies expanded Minnesota voting window

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A bill to open Minnesota voting booths two weeks before an election and allow voting on weekends is raising constitutional questions.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A bill to open Minnesota voting booths two weeks before an election and allow voting on weekends is raising constitutional questions.

A Senate elections committee debated Wednesday whether it would violate Minnesota's constitutional clause designating one election day.

Minnesota is among a dwindling number of states without in-person early voting. The state's absentee voting process requires people to meet one of a handful of legitimate excuses.

The bill by Democratic Sen. Katie Sieben of Newport would set the parameters for early voting. Polling stations would have to be open on some evenings and at least two Saturdays. Early voting would end a few days before Election Day.

Under early voting, ballots are entered into tabulating machines but not actually counted until Election Day.

No vote was taken on the bill.

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