Area voters might find that they are unable to get to their polling place location on the Nov. 6, General Election Day but still want to vote in the election. They can vote by casting an absentee ballot prior to Election Day.
In Minnesota, a citizen is allowed to vote absentee for the following reasons:
• Absence from his or her precinct
• Illness or disability
• Serving as an election judge in another precinct
• Religious discipline or observance of religious holiday
• Eligible emergency declared by the governor or quarantine declared by the federal or state government.
Information about absentee balloting is available on the Minnesota Secretary of State website at sos.state.mn.us. Click on Elections and Voting and then Absentee Voting. Applications for absentee ballots are available on this website. Obtaining them here can speed up the absentee voting process.
MILITARY, OVERSEAS VOTERS
Military and overseas voters also can vote by absentee ballot. Military personnel and civilians who are temporarily or indefinitely overseas, military personnel who are stationed in the U.S. but away from their hometowns, and their spouses and dependents, are eligible to vote in Minnesota by absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and Minnesota state law.
Temporarily Overseas: A voter who is temporarily overseas is a citizen who would be qualified as an eligible voter to vote at his or her polling location in Minnesota if he or she were not overseas.
Indefinitely Overseas: A voter indefinitely overseas is a citizen who currently has no plans to return to Minnesota but is authorized by federal law to vote in Minnesota because he maintained residence in Minnesota for at least 20 days immediately prior to their departure from the United States. Voters who are indefinitely overseas are permitted to vote only for the offices of president, vice president, senator in Congress, and representative in Congress.
Uniformed or Military Personnel: A uniformed or military voter is one who is a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, or the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and who is absent from his precinct on the date of the election due to their service.
HOW TO CAST ABSENTEE VOTES
There are two ways to vote by absentee ballot — in person and by mail.
A voter can cast an absentee ballot in person, at his county auditor’s office and in some cases his city or township clerk’s office, between now and Election Day. This option is available on weekdays during business hours. In addition, the county auditor’s office must be open for absentee balloting from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Saturday before the election and until 5 p.m. on the day before the election.
For information in Hennepin County, contact Election Official Rachel Smith, (612) 348-5151 or [email protected] Information also is available at local city halls, but some of them do not accept absentee ballots.
In order to vote absentee by mail, a voter must complete an absentee ballot application and submit it to his local election official by mail, fax, or email (print off the application, sign it, scan it, and attach to an email as a .pdf). Allow plenty of time for the process, which involves requesting a ballot application, submitting the application, receiving the ballot and sending the ballot to the appropriate place.