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PIERRE | A South Dakota Senate panel has scrapped a bill that would have cut the time allowed for early voting in the state by two weeks.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 8-1 Wednesday against the bill. The measure would have reduced the absentee voting window from 46 days to 32 days.

House Majority Leader Lee Qualm, the bill's sponsor, says he believes the state needs a very informed electorate, and that requires cutting down the time frame.

Secretary of State Steve Barnett and a series of county elections officials opposed the bill. Davison County Auditor Susan Kiepke says it would have taken away rights currently afforded to voters.

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The National Conference of State Legislatures says the average beginning point for early voting is 22 days before an election.

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