Early voting opens Friday in Minnesota ahead of the upcoming midterm elections in November.
Experts and activists call the November 8 election one of the most important of our generation, with future legislation on access to abortion and gun control, among other hotly debated issues, at stake.
Beginning September 23 and ending November 7, people can cast their votes early in person or by mail with an absentee ballot. To vote early in Minnesota, you must be a US citizen, 18 years old, and have lived in the state for at least 20 days before November 8. Court orders deeming you ineligible to vote and any felony convictions also prevent you from voting.
These are the two most common ways you can vote early. It’s a popular choice: In 2020, 1.6 million Minnesotans had already voted early four days before the election.
Vote early with an absentee ballot
People can cast their vote early from home with absentee ballots.
People who are already registered to vote must apply to receive their absentee ballots and can return completed applications online, by fax or by mail. You will also need to provide an email address and identification number when requesting your absentee ballot. (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 yet registered, you can request a ballot and voter registration materials will be sent to you with your absentee ballot. You can check the status of your Minnesota registration through this online portal.
After completing the paper ballot, in blue or black ink, and including a witness signature, you may deliver the ballot in person or return it by mail.
Absentee ballots must be received by Election Day or they will not be counted. Ballots returned in person must be delivered to the county elections office (not a polling place) that originally mailed them by 3 pm on Election Day.
Holding onto an absentee ballot that you intended to mail in early can get confusing in the days leading up to the election, so it’s best to mail it in as soon as you finish filling it out.
Agent delivery, which is when someone picks up and returns your absentee ballot on your behalf, is an option only if you are hospitalized or disabled, or if you live in a nursing home, assisted living facility, residential treatment facility , group home, or women’s shelter. .
You can track the status of your ballot online and request an absentee ballot at any time before the election, as long as it is returned by Election Day.
Early voting in person
People can also cast their ballot in person before Election Day by voting in person at their county elections office. These locations will be open during normal business hours beginning September 23. Some locations may have extended hours during this time, and some city and local offices may also be open for early voting.
If you are not yet registered to vote, you can do so while voting early. You will be required to show some type of identification with proof of residency when you register.
The last day to vote early in person is November 7; the next day, of course, you will vote on time.