ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Early voting in Minnesota appears to be off to a strong start.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon says Minnesotans requested at least 106,061 no-excuse absentee ballots in the first six days of early voting, nearly three times the number requested during the same time period in the last midterm election in 2014.

Minnesota Public Radio News says county election officials have already accepted 11,353 ballots.

Minnesota faces an unusually high number of competitive races this fall. Recent polls gave narrow leads to Democratic Rep. Tim Walz in the gubernatorial race and incumbent Democratic Sen. Tina Smith in the special election to fill the final two years of Democrat Al Franken's Senate term, but their Republican opponents are within striking distance.

And four of the state's eight congressional races are considered tossups.