Planning to vote in the primary election Tuesday? Here’s what you need to know
On Tuesday, Minnesotans will vote to determine who’s on the November ballot in the gubernatorial, attorney general, secretary of state, Congressional, and some state Legislative and local elections, like the Hennepin County attorney and sheriff’s races.
Early voting — both by mail and in-person — has been going on for weeks. But if you haven’t voted yet, it’s not too late — you can still drop off your absentee ballot at the office that mailed it to you or cast your ballot in person at your polling place.
Here’s how to find where that is, and other things you need to know to vote in the primary.
Where do I vote?
Maybe not the same place you used to vote. Polling places sometimes change, and more of them may have changed this year compared to years past due to redistricting.
In Blue Earth County, for example, some polling places have had to be reconfigured as lines were redrawn in the county to account for population changes. Mankato — the county seat and population center — gained population, particularly in the northeast part of town, while the rest of the county lost population, said Michael Stalberger, the county’s property and environmental resources director.
Mankato picked up two whole new polling places, repurposed some to serve multiple precincts and closed others, either because they weren’t centrally located or for other reasons, such as being located in long-term care facilities amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s the case for many precincts across the state, which is why election officials are encouraging voters to double-check their registration and their polling place.
People who are registered to vote should have received a postcard recently that lists the polling location. If you can’t find that postcard, you can enter your address on the Secretary of State’s polling place finder to get the information.
“It’s always good to go on mnvotes.org and confirm your polling place. You might have voted at the same place for the last decade, and that could have changed,” said David Triplett, manager of elections for Ramsey County. “You need to vote at your assigned polling place on Election Day, so confirm that before you head out to vote.”
What’s on my ballot?
Everyone in Minnesota can vote in statewide primaries for governor, attorney general and secretary of state.
What else is on your ballot depends on where you live, and may or may not include Congressional, Legislative and local races. You can enter your address on the Secretary of State’s website to see a replica of your ballot.
How do I find out more about the candidates?
MinnPost has put together Who’s Running features for statewide, Congressional and Legislative offices, which can help you find out who the candidates are and links to their websites. Beyond that, you can read up on candidates’ positions in coverage from reputable news sites and read policy positions on candidates’ websites.
Anything I should know about filling out the ballot?
Yes. On the front of your primary ballot, you’ll find four columns — one for each of the state’s major parties — the DFL, the GOP, Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis and Legal Marijuana Now.
You can only vote in one party’s primaries, so only vote in one column.
Also: flip your ballot over. If there are local nonpartisan races in your district, or if you live in the 1st Congressional District, where there is both a special election and a primary on the ballot on Tuesday, you’ll find additional races there.
Can anyone tell which party primary I voted in?
Nope. Just you, unless you tell other people. While a rule change means the major parties have access to lists of which voters voted in which party primary in Minnesota presidential primaries, nobody can tell which party primary you voted in in this primary or other non-presidential primaries.
Help! I want to vote but I’m not registered.
That’s OK, whether it’s your first time voting or you moved and haven’t changed the address on your voter registration, you still have the option to vote in Minnesota Tuesday because of same-day voter registration.
There are a couple ways to verify your identity in order to same-day register, including bringing a valid ID with your name and current address on it. Other options can be found here.
Can I still bring my absentee ballot in or did I miss the deadline?
If you requested an absentee ballot and filled it out but just haven’t gotten to mailing it in or dropping it off yet, you can still get your vote counted. At this point, you could either go vote in person at your polling place until 8 p.m. or drop off your absentee ballot at the elections office that mailed it to you (not your polling place). You can also have a trusted person drop your ballot off at the elections office, but they will need to show ID with their name and signature. It needs to get there by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, per the Secretary of State’s website.
If you sent your completed ballot back in the mail a few days ago but are concerned it won’t arrive in time to be counted, you can check the ballot’s status here. As long as it gets to the elections office by 8 p.m., it should be counted, Triplett said (this is different than in 2020, when ballots were allowed to arrive a few days late as long as they were postmarked by Election Day and still be counted due to the pandemic).
What if I have questions?
The answers to most voter questions should be available on the Secretary of State’s website, or on county elections websites. But you can also call your local election office.
“We do get a fair number of phone calls from people who just have questions or concerns about our elections processes,” Stalberger said. “While those calls take a lot of time, we love them. We want to explain our processes to folks. If anybody has any questions about that we just always encourage them to reach out to us.”
For more, read our story from last week.
It originally appeared on Aug. 9 in MinnPost.com .
MinnPost is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization whose mission is to provide high-quality journalism for people who care about Minnesota.