Here’s how to vote early in Minnesota for the midterm election
Published at 5:20 pm on Friday 23 September 2022
By Abbey Machtig
Early voting opens Friday in Minnesota ahead of the upcoming midterm elections in November.
Experts and activists call the November 8 elections one of the most important of our generation, with future legislation on access to abortion and arms control – among other hotly debated topics – hanging in the balance.
From 23 September until 7 November, people can cast their vote in advance in person or by post with absentee voting. To vote early in Minnesota, you must be a US citizen who will be 18 years old and lived in the state at least 20 days before November 8th. Court orders that find you ineligible to vote and any criminal convictions also prevent you from voting.
Here are the two most common ways to vote early. It’s a popular option: In 2020, 1.6 million Minnesota people had already voted early four days before the election.
You vote in advance with a vote for absent
Individuals can cast their vote early from home by absentee voting.
People already registered to vote must apply to receive absentee ballots and can return completed applications online, by fax or by post. You will also need to provide an email address and identification number when applying for your absentee vote. (This can include a Minnesota-issued driver’s license, a Minnesota ID card, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.)
If you are not already registered, you can request a ballot and the material to register to vote will be sent along with the absentee ballot. You can check the status of your Minnesota registration through this online portal.
Once you’ve filled out your paper ballot paper, in blue or black ink, and included a witness’s signature, you can hand in the ballot in person or return it by post.
The absentee ballots must be received by election day, otherwise they will not be counted. Ballots returned in person must be filed with the county election office (not a polling station) which originally sent them by 3pm on election day.
Holding on to an absentee form that you intended to mail in advance can be confusing in the days before the election, so it’s best to mail it as soon as you’re done filling it out.
Agent handover, meaning when someone collects and returns your absentee vote on your behalf, is an option only if you are hospitalized or disabled, or live in a nursing home, assisted living facility, a residential care center, a group home or a women’s shelter.
You can track the status of your vote online and request an absentee vote at any time before the election, provided it is returned by election day.
Vote in person in advance
Individuals can also cast their vote in person before election day by voting in person at their county election office. These locations will be open during normal business hours starting September 23rd. Some locations may have extended hours during this period and some local and municipal offices may also be open for early voting.
If you are not already registered to vote, you can do so by voting in advance. Upon registration you will be asked to show proof of identity with proof of residence.
The last day to vote early in person is November 7 – the next day, of course, you will vote on time.