ABERDEEN, S.D. – Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (search) has at least three votes in his bid for re-election.
Daschle, his wife Linda, and daughter Lindsay, voted absentee Wednesday in the Democratic senator's hometown of Aberdeen.
"I voted for the most qualified man, Tom Daschle," he quipped outside the Brown County auditor's office.
Daschle is locked in a close race with his Republican challenger, former U.S. Rep. John Thune (search).
He said he believes he will win a fourller than some previous races.
"We know this is going to be a close race, but we think at the end of the day we're going to win," Daschle said.
Comment was not immediately available from Thune's campaign.
Daschle in the past has voted in Aberdeen on Election Day, but he said he voted early this year to encourage other South Dakotans to take advantage of a new state law that allows absentee voting without having to give a reason.
Early voting increases voter turnout, which is good for the nation, Daschle said. He said he also believes early voting and high voter turnout will benefit him.
The Daschles filled out applications at the Brown County auditor's office and then voted behind curtains of red, white and blue stripes.
Brown County Auditor Maxine Taylor said absentee voting this year, with nearly two weeks to go until the Nov. 2 election, has already exceeded total absentee voting in 2002.
More than 2,500 absentee ballots have already been cast in the county, she said. "Hopefully, the turnout will be equally as heavy on Election Day in person so we can brag about our turnout," she said.