The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Minnesota absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. Election Day to count. This is a big change, because we had been operating under the understanding that they could be counted up to a week later as long as they were postmarked by November 3.
This is a problem, but it’s a problem we can solve. We don’t need to panic. We need to plan. Here’s what to do.
SCENARIO 1: YOU PUT YOUR BALLOT IN THE MAIL ALREADY.
If you mailed in your ballot, you can check the ballot tracker to see if it has been received: https://mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/AbsenteeBallotStatus.aspx.
IF IT HAS BEEN RECEIVED, your ballot WILL BE COUNTED and you don’t need to do anything else.
IF IT HAS NOT BEEN RECEIVED, check it again on Tuesday morning. If your ballot has not been received by then, YOU CAN STILL VOTE IN PERSON ON ELECTION DAY. Your ballot will not be counted twice. You can find your polling location here:
The Secretary of State’s website says:
If I have already requested an absentee ballot, can I change my mind and vote in the polling place?
As long as your absentee ballot hasn’t been counted by your election officials, you may still cast a ballot in person by voting in your polling place on Election Day or at your local early voting location. You can track the status of your absentee ballot to see when it is sent to you and when it is received by election officials. After voting in person, the unique ballot ID number on your original absentee ballot will be invalidated, so that if it is returned to the election office the officials will not count it. If you plan on voting in person, please do not bring your absentee ballot with you. Your election official will provide you with a new ballot to complete that day. (Source: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/other-ways-to-vote/vote-early-by-mail/)
SCENARIO 2: YOU HAVE NOT MAILED YOUR BALLOT YET.
Here are your options:
1. You can drop off your ballot at the Clay County Courthouse on October 30 before 4:30 pm, on October 31 between 10 am and 3 pm, or on November 2 between 9 am and 5 pm. You can leave it in the dropbox inside the double doors, or take it downstairs to the voting area.
2. You can vote in person on Election Day even if you had previously requested an absentee ballot. Do not bring your absentee ballot with you to your polling place. You can find your polling location here: https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us
3. Under certain circumstances, you can have someone else return your ballot for you. This is called "agent delivery" and it is reserved for people who live in group homes, nursing homes, or other congregate care settings, or for people who have a disability or an incapacitating health reason. You can learn more about agent delivery here: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/other-ways-to-vote/vote-early-in-person/
DON'T PANIC. PLAN.
We don’t need to panic. We need to make a plan. If you have any questions about what to do about your absentee ballot, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you figure it out. Your voice matters, and we want to help you make sure that your vote will count.