By Colleen Steppa
Minnesota now has an early voting option and it couldn’t be easier. I heard about early voting a few months ago so I looked up online to see how to do it. I found some helpful websites which are shared in links below, and was able to print out a sample ballot so I could study the candidates beforehand. Technically, “early voting” is just absentee voting without needing to be physically absent. This year Minnesota has passed new legislation so we don’t need a specific reason to absentee vote, anyone can do it if they want to avoid the hassle of election day voting.
My local polling place was absolute chaos this year for the primary and I hate lines so I was excited to get this done early. I went into the early voting center on 1860 East 28th Street in which is about a mile from where I live, and there was plenty of parking and space, with several staff and only two other voters there at the same time as me. I filled out an application for an absentee ballot, which was a standard form that asked for my SSN or driver’s license ID number to identify me, and some other basic information like birthdate and current address. I had printed this beforehand but they had copies there as well, so if you’re pre-registered you don’t actually need to bring any documentation with you to vote, unless you don’t have your SSN and address memorized.
I asked staff for some information for other people and was told that even non-registered voters can register at the early voting center if they have the correct ID, and the voter centers are open 7 am to 7 pm in the weeks before the election (which we are in right now.) Also, the downtown early vote center, located on 217 S 3rd Street is available for early voters who live anywhere in Hennepin County, not just in the city of Minneapolis.
The whole process took me about 10 minutes and staff were very helpful and friendly, they have a selfie wall where they even took my picture at the end. So go out there and vote!
Watch this video for more information from the Minnesota Secretary of State
Pre-registered voters can apply for an absentee ballot to be mailed to them. Ballots must be completed and mailed by November 8, 8pm to be counted.
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