Voting in MN
Thanks to ACLU People Power for the following information on registering to vote in MN! This can be used to help others to vote.
MINNESOTA VOTER REGISTRATION: HELPING OTHERS REGISTER TO VOTE, APRIL 2018
MINNESOTA HAS A PROUD TRADITION OF HIGH VOTER PARTICIPATION.
IN THE 2016 ELECTION, MINNESOTA’S VOTER TURNOUT WAS THE HIGHEST IN THE U.S.
ACCORDING TO STATE OFFICIALS, MORE THAN 81 PERCENT OF REGISTERED MINNESOTA VOTERS CAST BALLOTS. THAT’S JUST UNDER 75 PERCENT OF ALL ELIGIBLE MINNESOTANS. MANY OF THEM VOTED BEFORE ELECTION DAY.
HOWEVER, WHILE WHITE VOTING RATES WERE HIGH, VOTING RATES FOR BLACKS WERE 66 PERCENT, ASIANS WERE 52 PERCENT AND HISPANICS WERE 37 PERCENT
GAPS BETWEEN THE YOUNGEST AND OLDEST VOTERS IN MINNESOTA WERE PRONOUNCED. TURNOUT AMONG THOSE 18 TO 24 REACHED ONLY ABOUT 55 PERCENT, COMPARED WITH ABOUT 73 PERCENT OF THOSE45 OR OLDER.
SO, WE STILL HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO.
THERE ARE FOUR WAYS TO REGISTER TO VOTE IN MINNESOTA 1. MAIL IN OR HAND DELIVER A PAPER VOTER REGISTRATION APPLICATION (FORM) 2. REGISTER ON LINE 3. REGISTER VIA EARLY (ABSENTEE) VOTING 4. REGISTER AT THE POLLS ON VOTING DAY We will address each one, one at a time. 1) REGISTER TO VOTE BY MAIL OR HAND DELIVER A THE FORM You can obtain a voter registration application (form) from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office or your County Auditor’s office. You can write them, call them, email them or request a voter registration application (form) in person. The form is also available for download here. We will now go through the voter registration application (form), one question at a time. It is not necessary, but it would be best if you had a form in front of you for reference. Question 1: Are you a U.S. Citizen? People with Green Cards cannot vote. You either have to be born in the United States or naturalized to be a citizen. If you are not a citizen, you cannot vote, and you cannot register to vote. Question 2: Will you be at least 18 years of age by the next election? The Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office, which keeps the Minnesota state rolls of registered voters, will register a person who is at least 17 ? and will be 18 by the next election. If you do not meet this age requirement, you cannot vote, and you cannot register to vote. Question 3: Fill in last or surname, first name, middle name and suffix (Jr., Sr., II, III), if any. Question 4: Fill in address where you live. (residence), apartment number, city and zip code. This should be your actual residence where you sleep. This is used to determine which precinct you should vote in. Statutes promise that if you are homeless in Minnesota you can register to vote by using the location where you sleep as your address. This could be a shelter, a friend's place or outside (For example: park bench at southwest corner of Minnehaha Park). However, this promise can turn out to be a little empty because, if you don’t have a mailbox, the notice of registration sent by the Secretary of State’s Office will be returned undeliverable, and the registration will be invalidated. Question 5: If mail cannot be delivered to the address above, provide P.O. Box, city and zip code. You cannot use a P.O. Box as your place of residence in question #4 since a P.O Box does not verify your residence in a particular precinct. However, if mail is not deliverable to your place of residence, you are allowed to list a P.O. Box and zip code for Question #5 so the Secretary of State’s Office will have a place to contact you. The form says to enter a P.O. Box as a place to receive mail if you can’t receive it at your residence listed in Question 4, but you can also enter a street address as a place where the Secretary of State’s Office can contact you. Question 6: Date of birth (not today’s date). Make sure the date is entered in the order normal to the U.S. (month/day/year) and not day/month/year as is common in other countries. Your school district (if you don't know what it is, click here.); county where you live; phone number; and email address (All printed in white) are optional but highly encouraged so the Secretary of State’s Office can reach you if there is a problem with your registration. Question 7: Mark one box and provide the number that applies to you __ I have a MN-issued driver’s license or MN ID card number. ________________ __ I do not have a MN-issued driver’s license or MN ID Card. The last four digits of my Social Security Number is _________ __ I do not have a MN-issues driver’s license, a MN- issued ID card, or a Social Security Number. If you check this last option, your application will be filed in limbo until you present proof of identity and residence (which you can do at the polls.) Registration Updates: Are you currently registered under a different name or address? If so, enter previous last name, previous first name and previous middle name. Enter previous address where you were last registered, the city, state and zip code. If you cannot remember which address you used to previously register, you can enter as much as you do remember (city, for example), enter multiple addresses, or you can just state that you don’t remember, and if the county auditor can’t figure it out, they will start a new registration for you. Question 8: I certify that I: • will be at least 18 years old on election day; • am a citizen of the United States; • will have resided in Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding election day; • maintain residence at the address given on the registration form; • am not under court-ordered guardianship in which the court order revokes my right to vote; • have not been found by a court to be legally incompetent to vote; • have the right to vote because, if I have been convicted of a felony, my felony sentence has expired (been completed) or I have been discharged from my sentence, and • have read and understand this statement that giving false information is a felony punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment or a fine of not more than $10,000, or both. Sign here:__________________________ Date_______ Where to Return This Application: Mail in (you will need a first class stamp) or drop off this form to: Secretary of State 60 Empire Drive Suite 100 St. Paul, MN 55103 Or your county auditor’s office. The address for return is also listed on the ballot. Regarding Felons: A person convicted of a felony in the State of Minnesota cannot vote until they have completed their sentence including incarcerated time (if any), supervised release, parole, and probation. The Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office has a list of all convicted felons, so if a convicted felon who isn’t yet “off paper” signs the voter registration form, the SOS will know and will refer the case to the Attorney General for possible conviction. If a convicted felon who has not completed their sentence registers and votes at the polling place, the election judge will not know and will allow the person to vote. but when the registration arrives at the SOS’s office, the registration will be referred to the attorney general’s office for possible prosecution. When a felon has completed their sentence (including supervised release, parole, and probation, the court system notifies the SOS Office, and the ban on that person voting is removed. However, there can be a delay on this notification from the courts, so any felon who is unsure should contact the court system for clarification on their case. The Minnesota Judicial Branch Self Help Center at 651-435-6535 will direct you. Regarding Students: In Minnesota college students who are residing at their school have a choice. You should register to vote from the address you currently consider home. For many students, this is likely a school address or a parent’s house. If you still go back to visit but no longer consider it your home, then you should register to vote where you live at school. If you moved to Minnesota from another state and currently consider Minnesota your home, you can vote here even if you pay out-of-state tuition or have a driver’s license from another state. If you do not consider your school address to be your home, you can apply to vote by mail with an absentee ballot. (See Section 3.)
Deadline Information: You are encouraged to register before Election Day — it will save you time at the polling place. Applications must be received by the Secretary of State’s Office or the voter’s county election office within 10 days of when the voter signed and dated the application. The deadline to register in advance is 20 days before Election Day. For the 2018 primary, that will be July 24. For the general election, that will be October 16. If you do not meet that deadline, the Secretary of State’s Office will send you a notice of late registration. You can take that notice with you to the polls as proof of residence. Assistance: Large-type applications are available upon request from your County Auditor or the Office of the Secretary of State. Special assistance is available to those who are elderly, have disabilities, or are in health care facilities. For a TTY/TTD (deaf and hard of hearing) communication, contact the Minnesota Relay Service at 1-800-627-3529. Registration applications are available in all languages, here is the link again. Contact the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State or your County Auditor for more information. Privacy Notice: Your exact date of birth, email address, and any ID number you give (Minnesota driver’s license, state ID or last four digits of Social Security number) are private. Only election officials and other authorized government agencies may access this information. Election officials use your exact date of birth and ID Number to confirm your identity with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety or Social Security Administration. If you have an ID number but refuse to give it, your application may be incomplete and you may have to apply again or show proof of residence beforeyou can vote. The rest of the data on your application is public when used for elections, political, law enforcement or jury selection purposes. If you need to keep your contact data private because of personal safety concerns, call 1-877-600-8683. Additional Voting Information: For more information on voting, registering to vote, finding your polling place, state election results, campaign information, or conducting elections, go to the Minnesota Secretary of State website or call toll free 1-877-600-VOTE (1-877-600-8683).
2) REGISTERING ONLINE TO REGISTER ON LINE YOU MUST HAVE TWO THINGS: 1. An email address (Election officials ask for your email so they can contact you about your application. Also, the Office of the Secretary of State may email you (or contact you another way) about voting and elections, or ask for public input about voting and elections.
2. One item from the list below: a) MN DRIVER’S LICENSE b) MN ID CARD NUMBER c) THE LAST FOUR NUMBERS OF YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. IF YOU DON’T HAVE EITHER OF THESE, YOU CAN’T REGISTER ON LINE.
TO REGISTER ON LINE GO TO THIS LINK. Follow the instructions.
Many of the people you encounter, will prefer to register on line rather than entrusting their application to you or the postal service. Young people will be attracted to this way of registering, and when taught how, will be able to show their friends how to register on line. You can register people online on the spot on your cell phone or theirs. 3) REGISTRATION VIA EARLY (ABSENTEE) VOTING All eligible voters in Minnesota can choose to vote before Election Day (early) by absentee ballot without providing a reason. You can vote early by mail, or you can vote early in-person, starting 46 days before each election. Voting early is a two-step process: 1) Applying for the absentee ballot (by mail or in person) then 2) sending/handing it in
You can pick up an absentee ballot at the Secretary of State’s Office or your county auditor’s office. Or you can request an absentee ballot be sent to you from the Secretary of State’s Office or your county auditor. You do not have to be pre-registered to request an absentee ballot. Any unregistered voter who requests a ballot will receive a voter registration form. Make sure to follow the instructions.
To vote early by mail, follow the instructions here.
Having an agent pick up your ballot (agent delivery): In special situations, you may ask an agent to pick up and return an absentee ballot for you. This is called ‘agent delivery.’ Read more about agent delivery.
Absentee ballot deadlines:
To apply: There are no specific deadlines. We recommend requesting your ballot at least one month before Election Day.
To return ballot: Voted ballots must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the day before Election Day (in person). They must be received by the close of polls on election day (by mail). All voters have at least one location where they can vote early in person with an absentee ballot. Depending on where you live, there may be additional locations. You can vote in person at your county auditor’s office. In addition to your county auditor’s office, some cities and towns offer in-person absentee voting. Your absentee ballot will count as long as you return your ballot on time and fill out the forms correctly.
You can track your ballot here to make sure it was received and is being processed. HOURS For most elections, absentee voting locations must be open during their normal business hours starting 46 days before the election. In addition, locations offering absentee ballots for federal, state or county elections must be open:
The last Saturday before Election Day (10 a.m. — 3 p.m.)
The day before Election Day until 5 p.m.
This does not apply to school districts holding standalone elections.
Some local jurisdictions may provide additional absentee voting days or hours beyond the above required days and times. Call your jurisdiction for more information.
2018 EARLY VOTING DATES Primary Elections First day to vote early in person: Friday, June 29 Last day to vote early in person: Monday, August 13 General Election First day to vote early in person: Friday, September 21 Last day to vote early in person: Monday, November 5 4) REGISTER AT THE POLLS ON VOTING DAY To register (or update your registration) at your polling place on Election Day, you will need to prove who you are and where you live. You can do this in three ways.
1. You can bring one document that proves both who you are and where you live. This could be:
Valid Minnesota driver’s license, learner’s permit or ID; or a receipt for any of these.
Tribal ID with name, address, photo and signature.
2. You can chose a document that proves who you are from the list below: (The ID can be expired)
Driver's license, state ID or learner’s permit issued by any state
U.S. Military or Veteran ID
Tribal ID with name, signature and photo
Minnesota university, college or technical college ID
Minnesota high school ID
OTHER DOCUMENTS THAT WORK You can chose to bring an approved document from the list below that proves your residence. (This document can be shown on an electronic device.) Show a bill, account or start-of-service statement due or dated within 30 days of the election:
Phone, TV or internet
Solid waste, sewer, electric, gas or water
Banking or credit card
Rent or mortgage
Residential lease or rent agreement valid through Election Day
Current student fee statement
3. You can bring with you a registered voter who can confirm your address. A registered voter from your precinct can go with you to the polling place to sign an oath confirming your address. This is known as 'vouching.' A registered voter can vouch for up to eight voters. You cannot vouch for others if someone vouched for you. 4. Students: You can bring a college student ID with housing list Colleges and universities send election officials a student housing list. If you are on the list, show your college photo ID to complete your registration.
5. A valid registration in the same precinct If you are registered in the precinct but changed names or moved within the same precinct, you only need to tell the election judge your previous name or address.
6. A notice of Late Registration If you registered to vote within 20 days of the election, you may get a Notice of Late Registration in the mail. Bring it with you and use it as your proof of residence to register.
7. A staff person of a residential facility If you live in a residential facility, a staff person can go with you to the polling place to confirm your address. This is known as 'vouching.' A staff person can vouch for all eligible voters living in the facility. The staff person must prove their employment at the facility. There are several ways to do this, including by showing an employee badge.
8.If you live outside, in a shelter, or are staying at a friend's house
You may not have any documents proving you live there. If so, a registered voter from your precinct can go with you to the polling place to sign an oath confirming where you live. If you live in a shelter, a staff person can go with you to the polling place to confirm you live at the shelter.