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AARP AARP States Minnesota Voters

How to Register, Vote and Track Your Ballot in Minnesota

En español | Any registered voter can request an absentee ballot, but you’ll need another registered voter or a notary as a witness.

Some cities and school districts are holding elections in 2023.

The next statewide elections include races for seats in the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, state Legislature and state Supreme Court, among others. The presidential primary will be held Tuesday, March 5, 2024. The primary for other offices will be Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2024, and the general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2024.

Essential info:

  • Upcoming elections: Information is available on the state elections website.
  • Absentee voting: All registered voters can cast an absentee ballot, but you’ll need another registered voter or a notary as a witness.
  • Early in-person voting: You can cast an absentee ballot early and in person at your county election office.
  • Voting at the polls: Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in most of the state.

Have there been recent changes to voting in Minnesota?

Legislation that took effect in 2023 has changed voting in Minnesota. Among other changes, the legislation:

  • Extends the deadline to return absentee ballots to 8 p.m. on Election Day. Previously, the deadline to return mail ballots in person was 3 p.m.
  • Gets rid of restrictions on how many voters a person can assist at the polls.
  • Reinstates voting rights to formerly incarcerated residents who were convicted of a felony. 
  • Allows registered voters to be absent from work to vote in person during the absentee voting period or Election Day without any penalty.

In 2024, legislation takes effect that will:

  • Establish automatic voter registration for residents when they apply for or renew their Minnesota driver’s license, or when they apply for health insurance through MinnesotaCare or for services at other designated state agencies.
  • Establish a permanent absentee voter list. Registered voters can request to be added to the list to be sent an absentee ballot without reapplying each year.
  • Extend the hours for voting before an election. 
  • Require that sample ballots and instructions to vote are offered in several languages.

Redistricting in the state changed the boundaries of certain U.S. congressional and state legislative districts, and may affect which candidates appear on your ballot.

How do I register to vote?

  • Online: Use the state’s voter information portal to register, update your voter information and check your registration status. You’ll need an email address and a Minnesota state ID, driver’s license or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  • In person: Register in person when you vote early or at your polling place on Election Day. You’ll need an approved form of ID with your current address, such as a Minnesota driver’s license, state-issued ID or tribal ID. If you don’t have one, you’ll need a photo ID, along with a bill, lease or other document that confirms your name and current address. Find ID requirements on the state election website.

Does my party affiliation matter when I vote?

No. Minnesotans don’t affiliate with a party when they register to vote, so you can choose which primary in which to participate. But you can vote in only one party’s primary.

Large Turnout For Early Voting In Minneapolis, Minnesota
A voter walks into an early voting center in Minneapolis.
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

How can I get an absentee ballot? 

Registered voters can request a ballot throughout the year — except on Election Day — but officials recommend that you submit a request a few weeks before an election.

Starting in 2024, you can apply to be on a permanent absentee voter list and automatically receive a ballot before every election.

Request a ballot online, by mail or in person:

  • By mail: Print an application from the state elections website. Mail your completed application to your county elections office. Or call your elections office to request a form. Include your Minnesota driver’s license or state ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

How do I return my absentee ballot? 

Once you receive your ballot, you’ll need a witness signature from a notary or from another registered voter. Return your ballot by mail or in person.

  • By mail: Place your completed ballot in the prepaid, preaddressed envelope and mail it to your county election office. Your ballot must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
  • In person: Drop off your completed ballot (and up to three other people’s ballots) at your county election office by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Voters can designate an agent to pick up and return their absentee ballot if they have a disability, are hospitalized or live in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Qualified voters must fill out an additional form that must be delivered to their county election office along with their absentee ballot application.

Can I track my absentee ballot?

Yes. Check the status of your absentee ballot using the state’s voter information portal.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

You can cast an absentee ballot in person at your county elections office and, in some cases, at your city clerk’s office starting 46 days before an election. Under a law that takes effect in 2024, the hours that these voting locations are open will be extended before a general election. Contact your county elections office for more information.

What do I need to know about voting at the polls on Election Day?

Polls are generally open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. — towns with populations below 500 may not open polling places before 10 a.m. You should be allowed to vote if you’re in line before the polls close. Use the state’s voter information portal to find your polling location and hours.

Do I need identification to vote?

If your voter registration is current and active, you do not need to bring ID. If you need to register or update your registration, or haven’t voted in more than four years, proof of residence may be required. Valid forms of ID include a Minnesota driver’s license or Minnesota state ID. You can also show a photo ID plus a document with your current name and address. A full list of acceptable IDs is on the secretary of state’s website.

    Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Aug. 22, 2023. The guide was first published on July 29, 2020.

    Also of Interest:

    Contact AARP Minnesota
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