Information below last updated in Fall 2014. Please check back soon for 2015 registration dates and election information.
Polling Place Hours
Most polling places open at 7:00 a.m. but a few polling places in small townships outside the eleven-county metropolitan area may open as late as 10:00 a.m. Please contact your County Auditor or Township Clerk for details. All polling places close at 8:00 p.m.
For information on early voting, see Voting Early & By Absentee Ballot below.
2014 Primary Election: July 21, 2014 and Election Day
2014 General Election: October 21, 2014 and Election Day
To register to vote you need to provide your Minnesota driver's license number or Minnesota ID number. If you do not have a Minnesota driver's license or Minnesota ID, you will need to provide the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. If you have none of these, indicate that information on the relevant part of the voter registration form.
How to Check If Your Are Registered
To verify your voter registration status, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s registration information page.
You can also call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
To be eligible to register and vote in Minnesota you must:
How to Register
You can register to vote online in Minnesota. To register to vote you need to provide your Minnesota driver's license number or Minnesota ID number. If you do not have a Minnesota driver's license or Minnesota ID, you will need to provide the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. If you have none of these, you will need to fill out a paper application.
To register by mail, please download and print an application in the language of your choice. If you have none of the above mentioned forms of identification, please indicate that in the third checkbox under item number 7 in the application. Applications by mail must be received at least 20 days before the start of the election. Otherwise, you will need to register on Election Day.
Election Day Registration
Option 1. Present one of the following IDs with your current name and address:
Option 2. Present a photo ID from the list below and a bill in your name that shows your current address and is due within 30 days of the date of the election. The ID can be expired, and tghe documkent can be shown electronically on a device (smartphone, ipad, tablet, etc).
Option 3. A registered voter from your precinct can go with you to the polling place to sign an oath confirming your address. A registered voter can vouch for up to eight others.
Option 4. College students can use a student photo ID card if their college provided a student housing list to election officials.
Option 5. If you were previously registered in the precinct but changed names or moved within the same precinct, you only need to tell the elections official your previous name or address — no additional documentation is needed.
Option 6. If you pre-registered to vote too close to Election Day, you may have received a Notice of Late Registration in the mail. This notice can be used to register.
Option 7. If you live in a residential facility, a facility staff person can go with you to the polling place to confirm your address.
Identification Required for Registration
To register to vote you need to provide your Minnesota driver's license number or Minnesota ID number. If you do not have a Minnesota driver's license or Minnesota ID, you will need to provide the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. If you have none of these, you will need to fill out a paper application. Identification requirements for Election Day Registration are listed above.
If You Want to Vote Early
You can vote early by using an absentee ballot, instead of voting in person at the polling place on Election Day.
You can request, receive and cast an absentee ballot in one visit to your county election office. Some cities and towns also provide absentee ballots at their offices. Starting 46 days before the election, you can vote in person during these periods:
If you are not registered to vote, you will need to complete a voter registration form and show proof of residence at the elections office.
If You Want to Vote Absentee
You can vote early by using an absentee ballot, instead of voting in person at the polling place on Election Day. You can vote absentee by mail, in person, or by having a person you know pick up and deliver your ballot for you. Beginning with the August 12, 2014 Primary Election, any voter may vote absentee.
Absentee ballots are available 46 days before an election. In 2014, ballots will be ready starting June 27 for the Primary Election (August 12); and September 19 for the General Election (November 4).
Vote Absentee By Mail
Complete the following steps to submit your absentee ballot via mail:
Complete an Absentee Ballot Application and submit it to your local election official by mail, fax, or email. You can find the contact information for your county elections official using the Election Official Directory. Your ballot will be sent to you when it is ready, and at least 46 days prior to the election if you applied for the absentee ballot in advance. If you apply for an absentee ballot within 46 days of the election, your ballot will arrive within a few days of your application being received.
Once you receive your ballot, follow the enclosed instructions carefully. You will need a witness to sign the absentee ballot signature envelope to confirm your ballot was delivered blank and that you marked the ballot in private. The witness must be another registered Minnesota voter, or a notary from any state. (If you are not registered to vote, a voter registration application will be included in the materials. You must show your witness an accepted proof of residence when registering.) Return the completed ballot as soon as possible. Your ballot must be received by the local election official who sent it to you by Election Day, or it will not be counted. There are four ways to return your absentee ballot:
NOTE: You may not hand deliver your own absentee ballot on Election Day.
You can check the status of your absentee ballot using the absentee ballot lookup website.
Identification Requirements to Register to Vote
See above in the section on Voter Registration to find out requirements for online, mail in and Election Day registration.
Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot
You only need ID to vote if you have not registered before arriving at the polling precinct. However, if you have not registered to vote prior to arriving at your polling precinct, you may register on the day of the election. In addition, under federal law, first-time voters who registered by mail and did not provide identification at that time are required to do so at the polling place. To find out if this requirement applies to you, you can do so by checking the status of your voter registration.
You must re-register each time you change address, change names, or do not vote for four years in a row. Update your registration by completing a new registration application.
You can re-register using any of the methods detailed above in the “Registering to Vote” section above, including Election Day Registration. Alternatively, you can also register to vote by checking a box on your driver’s license application or renewal form. If you move to a new Minnesota residence, you can submit a United States Postal Service (USPS) change-of-address form. USPS will notify election officials of the change. If election officials can match the record in their system, they will update your address and mail a green confirmation postcard to you (automatic registration update).
Voters in the military and those voters residing outside the United States must follow a special process for voting absentee.
Requesting an Absentee Ballot
Applying online requires an identification number from either a Minnesota driver's license or a Minnesota ID card, or the last four numbers of a Social Security card.
Apply by email, mail or fax with the automated Minnesota Military and Overseas Voter Service.
Download the application to complete manually.
Ballots are ready at least 46 days before the election. Election officials send ballots by mail or email as quickly as possible after receiving applications. Read the privacy disclaimer about absentee ballot application data.
Eligibility to Apply
Guidelines for Applying
You may apply any time during the year for an absentee ballot. Apply early to avoid delays in receiving your ballot. The application is good for one calendar year. You will automatically receive a ballot for any elections you can vote in during that year. You must reapply each year and each time your mailing address changes. A spouse, parent, sibling or child over 18 years old may apply for an absentee ballot on your behalf.
Returning an Absentee Ballot
You must return your ballot by mail, even if election officials emailed the ballot to you. For the ballot to count, it must arrive at the election office no later than Election Day. The postmark date does not matter, only the date it arrives.
You can check the status of absentee ballots using the absentee ballot status tool.
Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if they are concerned with receiving their printed ballot and returning it by the 7:00 p.m., Election Day deadline. The FWAB is not a typical ballot—it does not list candidates. It is a blank ballot on which you write the names of the candidates for whom you want to vote. For federal offices, you may also write the name of the political party of the candidate you support. The FWAB may also be used to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step. If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the voter registration deadline. For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's Minnesota-specific page.
The Minnesota Military and Overseas Voter Service tool guides voters through the FWAB process, and provides the names of candidates in an election.
In Minnesota, you can vote once you finish your felony sentence, including probation and parole. This is often referred to as being “off-paper.” Once you are off-paper, your right to vote is automatically restored and includes those who completed a felony conviction was in another state. However, if you are still serving a felony sentence, YOU CANNOT register to vote. Please wait to register until you complete your sentence, even if you will be off-paper by Election Day.
If you are unclear if you have completed your sentence, do not register or vote. Please contact your parole or probation officer to verify if you have completed your sentence. It is not always obvious whether a particular felony charge resulted in a felony conviction (for example, if you received a stay of adjudication).
Although the right to vote is automatically restored once you complete your sentence, you still need to register before you vote, even if you were previously registered before your conviction. You can pre-register up to three weeks before Election Day, or you can register on Election Day itself.
What to Expect on Election Day
The county election office may not know your right to vote has been restored. On Election Day, there may be a note directing the election judge (poll worker) to challenge your eligibility to vote. If this happens, tell them that you have completed your sentence. The election judge might have you swear an oath of eligibility, and if you meet all eligibility requirements, you will be allowed to vote.For more information, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State website.
Voting information in other languages, including English, Hmong, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese is available from the Minnesota Secretary of State website.
For more information for voters with mental disabilities, visit The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and National Disability Rights Network’s document: “Voting Rights Guide for People with Mental Disabilities.”
For more information for student voters, visit the Minnesota Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.
Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
Conducting a Voter Registration Drive in your state? Here are some resources.