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January 29, 2013

A state Senate bill allowing for early voting -- which would enable state residents to cast ballots 15 days before Election Day -- is winding its way through the state Senate.

The bill, sponsored by state Senators Nia Gill (D-Essex) and Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic), calls for early voting for both the primary and the general election. Voters would be able to cast a paper ballot 15 days before an election at a polling place designated in every municipality. The polls would be open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

In towns larger than 30,000, the county board of elections would designate additional polling sites.

Early voting has proved quite popular around the country, with 32 states offering some form of it. The bill (S-2364) will now be considered by the state Senate Budget and Appropriations committee.

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