Minnesota voting chief aims for 80 percent turnout in ’08

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s top election official says he’s planning for a voter turnout year that could bust state records.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says he’s waging a campaign to push turnout above 80 percent, a threshold Minnesota hasn’t seen since 1956. That would mean more than 3 million ballots cast in November.

In 2004, the last presidential election year, a tick above 77 percent of eligible voters took part.

Ritchie’s "80 in ’08" campaign is focused on driving up participation by first-time voters, people with disabilities and seniors.


As part of the effort, he has launched the "Vote in Honor of A Veteran" program in which voters receive a button that lets them dedicate their vote to a past or present service member.

Ritchie says the program helps draw a link between the privileges of citizenship with the sacrifice of military members who protect those liberties.

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