ST. CLOUD -- The general election isn't until Tuesday, November 8th but early voting actually begins next Friday, September 23rd.

Stearns County Auditor-Treasurer Randy Schreifels says the county has already had over 1,500 requests for absentee ballots, which he says they'll start mailing out on the 23rd. Walk-in absentee locations are at the County Service Center in Waite Park and St. Cloud City Hall. Additional early voting locations will be added on November 1st.

Schreifels says you can rest assured that the voting equipment in the county is 100 percent accurate.

Yes, they are 100 percent accurate.  We've had school races [for example] that we've done recounts where there had been a two or three vote difference and the results don't change.  The machines are incredibly accurate.

As for claims in previous elections that dead people are being allowed to vote, the county's Laura Laudenbach says there is a system in place to prevent the ballot from counting.

For people that have passed away, we do get a roster so we're able to update their voter registration, and that's marked in the system.  So a ballot comes in and they are deceased, that ballot isn't going to count because that person has passed away.

Stearns County does have 23 precincts that are mail ballot only, by their choice. In those precincts, registered voters will automatically have a ballot sent to them.

All early ballots must be in the election office by election day.

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To learn more about this year's election you can go to or call the county's election office at 320-656-3920.

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