Not sure how to cast your ballot this year? We got you. We pulled together a guide of options on how you can safely vote this year and important deadlines. Read on, and then go rock that vote!
Mark your calendar, Election Day 2020 is Tuesday, November 3. Due to the pandemic, mail-in voting and requests for absentee ballots are setting records. In fact, according to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, Minnesota has seen over 1 million requests come through for absentee ballots so far. With this unprecedented situation, paying attention to registration deadlines is critical. Each state has its own rules, dates, and required information. We rounded up what you need to know here in Minnesota and followed the Office of The Minnesota Secretary of State website’s guidelines.
How Do I Register to Vote?
There are a few options here. You can register online, mail-in registration forms, or register on Election Day at your polling location. If you have already registered to vote in previous elections and still reside at that address, and have the same name, you do not need to register again. If you have moved since an earlier election or changed your name, you may want to check your status to see if you need to update your registration.
Your Minnesota driver’s license and the last four digits of your Social Security Number are all you need. The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State is where you can begin that process.
Register by Mail
Forms are available to download, print, and fill out. Applications can be brought with you on Election Day if you choose to vote in person, mailed to your county election office or sent to the Secretary of State in St. Paul:
Secretary of State
60 Empire Dr.
Saint Paul, MN 55103
Remember that you can request an absentee ballot online and register to vote online, but you can’t actually cast your vote online.
Register on Election Day
Bring your Minnesota photo ID with your current name and address to your polling location. Volunteers at the polling location will be able to assist you. Something else to know, in Minnesota, you do not need to register with a specific political party in order to vote.
What are the Registration Deadlines?
In Minnesota, you can register to vote on Election Day. However, the deadline for voter registration via online or mailing in your application is 21 days before November 3, so this year on October 13.
What are the Methods to Vote?
Absentee ballots, early voting, and voting in person are the official voting methods. (You can’t vote online; you can register to vote here.)
Due to the pandemic, many people may feel safer mailing their ballot rather than going to a polling location. You can request an absentee ballot online, and then you will need to mail in your ballot once you receive the form. Double-check all the information on your absentee ballot when you receive it. Be sure your name, county, and precinct information are all correct. Minnesota allows early voting via absentee ballot. Early voting in Minnesota began on September 18 and goes until November 2. Your absentee ballot may be returned via mail or in person at your polling location. If you choose to mail your ballot, it must be postmarked on or before November 3, and be received no later than November 10. You can track the status of your absentee ballot online.
Early voting is already happening in Minnesota, and all voters have at least one location available where they can vote early or drop off their absentee ballot form. Be sure to find your county election office and where you can vote early. Available hours vary by county, so double check before you make a plan to go. Early voting generally has much shorter wait times than going on Election Day.
Vote on Election Day
On November 3, if you choose to vote in person, do your research before on where your polling location is. Some polling locations will require you to bring your valid Minnesota ID even if you are already registered to vote. Most polling locations will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. but double-check on your specific location. If you registered to vote already, your name will be on a list of registered voters for that particular county, and you need to sign your name. Be mindful and respectful of all rules this year; masks and social distancing will be required. Check out these tips if this is your first time voting.
Now that you have the necessary information you need, research the candidates that will be on your ballot and get ready to participate in our democratic process and rock that vote!
The Office of The Minnesota Secretary of State has tons of resources, numbers to call, and more in-depth information about specific voting questions and requirements.