• 1. Am I eligible to Vote?
  • 2. How do I register to vote?
  • 3. What if I miss the Pre-Registration Deadline?
  • 4. When can I vote?
  • 5. I move a lot, do I need to re-register every time I move?
  • 6. I’m a student and confused if I should vote at my parent’s address or my school address?
  • 7. What is a Primary Election and do I need to vote in it?
  • 8. I usually work on Tuesdays and I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it to the polls?
  • 9. I am in the military and stationed abroad, how can I vote? (This also applies to Students studying abroad)
  • 10. I’ve never voted before, what is it going to be like?

1. Am I eligible to Vote?

To be eligible to register and vote in Minnesota you must:

  • Be at least 18-years-old on Election Day;
  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Have resided in Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding Election Day (October 19, 2016);
  • Be finished with all parts of any felony sentence, Click here for more information.
  • Not be under court-ordered guardianship where a court has revoked your voting rights.  Find more information here
  • Not have been ruled legally incompetent by a court of law.

2. How do I register to vote?

You can register online right now! It’s super easy, click here 

Do you think you might already be registered?  You can verify your voter registration status here.

If you're old school and love the United States Postal Service, you can also pre-register by mailing in an application found here or in person at your counties election offices.  To look up where your county elections office is located click here.

What if I want to register people and English isn’t their primary language?  

If you would like voter registration applications in other languages, you will need to print off the form found here and follow the instructions on the form.   

Pre- Registration Deadlines

The last day to pre-register to vote in Minnesota is October 18th, 2016.  But, don’t panic.  There are many different options for voting after the deadline.  But, it is a lot easier to pre-register and now you can do it online right here.

What You Need to Pre- Register:  

To pre-register to vote you need to provide your Minnesota driver's license number or Minnesota ID number.  If you do not have a Minnesota driver's license or Minnesota ID, you will need to provide the last 4 digits of your Social Security number.  If you have none of these, indicate that information on the relevant part of the voter registration form. 

3. What if I miss the Pre-Registration Deadline?

Don’t worry.  If you are not pre-registered, you can always register to vote on Election Day (November 8, 2016.)    

Election Day Registration 

If you did not register before Election Day, use any of the following proof of residence options to register at your polling place.

Option 1. Present one of the following IDs with your current name and address:

  • A valid Minnesota Driver's License, a learner's permit, a Minnesota ID card, or a receipt for any of these containing a valid address in the precinct;
  • A valid student ID card including your photo, if your college has provided a student housing list to election officials;
  • A tribal ID card that contains your name, picture, signature and address in the precinct;
  • A valid registration in the same precinct under a different name or address;
  • A notice of late registration that was sent to you by your county auditor or city clerk;
  • A voter registered in the same precinct as you who can confirm your address with a signed oath; or
  • An authorized employee of a residential facility where you reside who can confirm your address with a signed oath (the residential facility must provide a list of employees to election officials).

OR

Option 2. Present a photo ID from the list below and a bill in your name that shows your current address and is due within 30 days of the date of the election.  The ID can be expired, and the document can be shown electronically on a device (smartphone, ipad, tablet, etc).

Accepted IDs:

  • Minnesota Driver's License; 
  • Minnesota ID Card; 
  • United States Passport; 
  • United States Military ID card; 
  • Minnesota University or Technical College ID card; and
  • Tribal ID card.

Accepted documents:

  • Telephone (landline, cell, VOIP, etc.); 
  • TV (cable, satellite, etc.); 
  • Internet services; 
  • Electric; 
  • Gas; 
  • Solid Waste; 
  • Sewer Services; 
  • Water; 
  • Rent statement dated within 30 days of Election Day that itemizes utilities; and
  • Current student fee statement.

OR

Option 3. A registered voter from your precinct can go with you to the polling place to sign an oath confirming your address.  A registered voter can vouch for up to eight others.

OR

Option 4. College students can use a student photo ID card if their college provided a student housing list to election officials.

OR

Option 5. If you were previously registered in the precinct but changed names or moved within the same precinct, you only need to tell the elections official your previous name or address — no additional documentation is needed.

OR

Option 6. If you pre-registered to vote too close to Election Day, you may have received a Notice of Late Registration in the mail.  This notice can be used to register.

OR

Option 7. If you live in a residential facility, a facility staff person can go with you to the polling place to confirm your address.

4. When can I vote?

An eligible voter can either vote on Election Day (November 8, 2016) or early (starting 46 days before the election.  The following is info on how to vote:

On Election Day:

Most polling places open at 7:00 a.m. but a few polling places in small townships outside the eleven-county metropolitan area may open as late as 10:00 a.m.  Please contact your County Auditor or Township Clerk for details. All polling places close at 8:00 p.m. 

Early Voting by Absentee Ballot:  

You can also vote early by using an absentee ballot, instead of voting in person at the polling place on Election Day.  Click here to fill out an absentee ballot application and follow the steps provided 

You can also request, receive, and cast an absentee ballot in one visit toyour county election office.  Starting 46 days before the election, you can vote in person during these periods:

  • Monday – Friday during normal business hours.
  • Last Saturday before Election Day (10 a.m. to 3p.m.)
  • The day before Election Day until 5 p.m.

For more information click here.  But, remember if you are not registered to vote, you will need to complete a voter registration form and show proof of residence at the elections office.

After filling out your application, your ballot will be sent to you when it is ready, and at least 46 days prior to the election if you applied for the absentee ballot in advance.  If you apply for an absentee ballot within 46 days of the election, your ballot will arrive within a few days of your application being received.

Once you receive your ballot, follow the enclosed instructions carefully.  Here is a short video walking you through the process.

You can also check your Absentee Ballot Request by clicking here.  

NOTE: You may not hand deliver your own absentee ballot on Election Day.

5. I move a lot, do I need to re-register every time I move?

You must re-register each time you change address, change names, or do not vote for four years in a row.  Check your registration just in casehere and if you find you are not registered, Register here.

You can re-register using any of the methods detailed above in the “Registering to Vote” section above, including Election Day Registration.  Alternatively, you can also register to vote by checking a box on your driver’s license application or renewal form.  If you move to a new Minnesota residence, you can submit a United States Postal Service (USPS) change-of-address form.  USPS will notify election officials of the change. If election officials can match the record in their system, they will update your address and mail a green confirmation postcard to you. 

6. I’m a student and confused if I should vote at my parent’s address or my school address?

Students have a choice about where to register to vote:   

School residence:

  • Students attending college in Minnesota may register to vote at their school address if they presently intend to make it their residence and to return there after any temporary absence like summer vacation. They do not have to plan to reside at that address permanently or after graduation.
  • If you register or vote in another state, you will lose your Minnesota residency.

Home residence:

  • Some students may choose to register or remain registered at their home (prior) address in Minnesota or outside the state if they intend to return there after college. In this case, a student may need to vote by absentee ballot.
  • Minnesota residents who move away for college can keep their Minnesota voting residency so long as they still consider Minnesota the location of their primary residence and do not register or declare residency elsewhere. These students may request to vote by mail via absentee ballot.

To find more information on how to register, what types of identification you need or other student related questions, please clickhere.

7. What is a Primary Election and do I need to vote in it?

The Minnesota Primary Election is held on Tuesday, August 9, 2016.  A primary election determines which candidates will be on the ballot in the November general election.  

For Example: Five candidates from one political party might run for governor.  Only one candidate can be on the ballot in November from each party.  The winner of the August primary election will represent their party on the November election ballot.  

You might be asking what is the difference between a Caucus and a Primary?  Well, unlike primaries, which are run by state governments, caucuses are organized by political parties, which coordinate and fund them. Beyond selecting candidates to endorse, caucuses also take care of other party business, such as choosing party leaders and prioritizing issues within the party’s platform.

You can find more information about the primary election here.  

8. I usually work on Tuesdays and I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it to the polls?

You have a right to take time off work to vote without losing your pay, personal leave, or vacation time.  

Your employer must pay you for the time you need to vote, if it falls within your scheduled work time.  Your employer cannot require you to use person leave or vacation time.  Remember to take only as much time as you need to vote and go to work.  

Your employer cannot directly or indirectly refuse, limit, or interfere with this right, including what time you choose to vote.  Your Employer can ask that you tell them when you will be gone, and ask that employees coordinate their absences to minimize workplace disruptions.  

If an employer violates this law they are guilty of a misdemeanor.  You will need to file a complaint with the county attorney.  To help educate your employer you can provide them with the following letter about this law.

9. I am in the military and stationed abroad, how can I vote? (This also applies to Students studying abroad)

Don’t miss out on voting because you’re abroad!  Have an absentee ballot mailed, emailed or faxed (I know right, who knew people were still faxing,) to you wherever you are in the world. 

Follow these steps to make this all happen:

1. See if you are eligible here
2. Apply for a ballot here.
3. Watch for your Voting Materials:   Once your application is approved, you will be emailed or sent your voting materials.  Materials will be available starting September 23, 2016.
4. Vote and Complete Forms: Read your ballot instructions carefully.  Your ballot will not count if you do not complete and return all forms.
5. Mail Ballot Back by Deadline:  Your ballot will not count if it is received after Election Day, November 8, 2016.  Return your ballot using mail, a package delivery service (FedEx, UPS, etc.) or the diplomatic pouch at a US Embassy or Consulate.  You cannot return your ballot by email or fax.
6. Confirm Your Ballot was Received Here.

10. I’ve never voted before, what is it going to be like?

We understand that voting for the first time can be a little intimidating.  Go Vote MN hopes to provide information to make voting easier and more accessible to everyone.  

Here are 4 easy steps that you will go through to vote on Election Day:

1. Find your polling place by clicking here.  It is usually located near where you live.  Polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Make a plan to vote ahead of time and remember, you have a right to take the time you need off of work to vote

2. Sign in or register to vote when you get to your polling place.  Usually there will be a “Vote Here” sign or a flag to indicate where you should go.  If you are registered to vote, your name will be on a list of voters. You just need to write your signature next to your name. If you are registered, you do not need to show ID when you sign in. If you did not register before Election Day, you must show proof of your current address. Click here (to see a list of all the types of ID and documents you can bring).

3. Get your ballot and head to one of the voting stations.  You will be given a ballot, a pen and directed to one of the voting booths.  You will vote in a private area, and your vote is secret. You must completely fill in the oval next to your choice. You can also fill out your ballot using a ballot-marking machine. It has many option for marking your ballot, such as large print, audio instructions, key pad or touchscreen. The ballot instructions will say how many candidates you can choose for each office. Usually it will say to "choose one". Some local offices may have more than one seat to fill.  Your ballot will count even if you do not vote on every race or ballot question. If you make a mistake, you have a right to ask for a replacement ballot.

4. Take your ballot to the ballot machine. After you have voted, put your ballot in the ballot-counter machine.  You should make sure that you watch it go through the machine and be counted.  You will then get an “I Voted” sticker to show off to all of your friends.  

Remember that if anything goes wrong at the polling location or you see some suspicious behavior or something that is off.  You should call 866-OURVOTE (866-687-8683.)