The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do pretty much everything – including voting.
To keep polling places less crowded on Election Day, Minnesota has expanded access to mail-in voting. But for new and first-time voters, these less traditional forms of voting — such as early voting and voting by mail — can be a little tricky.
There are a lot of myths and misinformation out there about voting, so don’t be fooled. We clear up some of the concerns that you may have heading into the November election in the latest episode of Tomorrow Together. Watch the video and check the FAQ below for some tips on how to make sure your vote counts in November.
How do I register to vote?
You can register to vote on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website up to 21 days before the election using an online or printed form. You can also register at your polling place or at an early voting center on the same day you vote in person. Follow these guidelines for more information about same-day registration.
How do I request a mail-in ballot?
Voters can fill out a short, free application on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website to request a ballot. Once your ballot comes, there’s no need to worry about stamps — in Minnesota, ballots are prepaid.
There is also an option to submit a paper absentee ballot application, but voters will need their own postage to mail that application. The ballot you receive has the postage prepaid.
If you are concerned about mailing in your ballot, you can also bring it directly to your local elections office. (You cannot drop your ballot off at your polling place on election day.) Minnesotans can track their absentee ballot on the Secretary of State’s website.
What’s an early voting center?
Early voting centers are locations where voters can cast an absentee ballot in person, before the election. Minnesotans can vote early at their county election office. Some cities, such as Minneapolis, also have designated early voting centers where residents can cast a ballot.
If I am a student, should I register on campus or at home with my parents?
Either is fine — though college students should vote where they consider home. If you are a student from out of state, but consider Minnesota home, you can vote here — even if you have a driver’s license from another state or pay out-of-state tuition.
I turn 18 on Election Day. Can I still vote by mail or in person early?
Yes! All eligible voters can apply for a mail-in ballot, including 17-year-olds who will be 18 by Election Day.
I am a student and I usually live on campus in Minneapolis, but I'm studying from home this semester because of COVID-19. I plan to return to campus in January. Can I still cast a mail-in ballot from my student housing address?
You have options. You can register to vote at your current address. You can register at your permanent address and have a mail-in ballot sent to you at school. Or, you can register to vote at your new address at school, and vote in person or have a mail-in ballot sent to you there.
Will my polling place on campus still be open?
Minnesota has not reduced the number of available polling places, though some polling locations have moved for safety. To be sure, find your polling place here.
Where can I access voting materials in other languages?
The Secretary of State provides voting and elections information online in Spanish, Hmong, Somali and several other languages.
In the next episode of Tomorrow Together, we’ll dig into how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting your return to college. Have any thoughts you’d like to share with us? Fill out our form, here. Catch up on previous episodes of the show on our YouTube channel.