Minnesota Absentee Ballot Guide

Minnesota Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated June 11, 2014
Military and Overseas voters should visit the Overseas Vote Foundation. Long Distance Voter's information should only be used by voters with US mailing addresses.

Important Deadlines

  • Voter Registration: Received 21 days before the election. You may also register in-person at the polls on Election Day as long as you can provide proof of residence
  • Absentee ballot application: No specific deadline. We recommend requesting your ballot at least one month before the election
  • Voted absentee ballot: Received by the close of polls on election day (by mail). Received by 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election (in person). You may also have someone else return your completed ballot, sealed in its envelope, to your local election official by 3:00 p.m. on election day (Persons delivering ballots may not do so for more than three voters)

How to vote by absentee ballot

Register to vote

Recommended if you are planning to vote absentee: unregistered voters can use either:

to register to vote AND request an absentee ballot at the same time.  Mail the completed application to your County Election Official.  Once they've determined that you're not registered, your election official will send you a registration form with your absentee ballot.

You can also use the Minnesota online voter registration system.  (You must provide either your Minnesota state ID card number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Otherwise, the site offers a printable form you can fill out.)

Finally, you can also use our Voter Registration Tool. Enter your information, print and sign the completed form, and mail it to the Secretary of State (the address is on the form).

Verify your registration

It's best to double check your registration before applying for your absentee ballot. Verify your voter registration today and avoid problems down the line. If there's a problem with your registration, register again before proceeding.

NOTE: Most people receive their voter registration cards in the mail 2-3 weeks after registering to vote. Don't worry if you lost your voter registration card. You don't actually need it to vote.

Make sure you're eligible to vote by absentee ballot

Great news! As of 2014, all Minnesota voters are eligible to vote by absentee ballot, no excuse necessary.

Apply for an absentee ballot

Remember: You do not need to be registered to request an absentee ballot!  You can take care of your voter registration and absentee ballot at the same time!

Recommended: use Minnesota's online absentee ballot application tool. You'll need to provide an email address and some form of identification (a Minnesota ID card number or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number).

Unregistered voters: Download and complete the Minnesota's Absentee Ballot Application.  You may submit the application by mail, fax, or email (by printing, signing, scanning, and attaching the application as a .pdf) to your local County Election Official. Once your County Election Official has determined that you're not registered, he or she will send a registration form with your absentee ballot. Fill both out and return them to your County Election Official (see Step 5 below for more details).

Registered voters: Download and complete the Minnesota's Absentee Ballot Application.  You may submit the application by mail, fax, or email (by printing, signing, scanning, and attaching the application as a .pdf) to your local County Election Official.

Receive, complete, and return your absentee ballot

Your ballot will be sent to you when it is ready (as early as 46 days before election day).  If you are an unregistered voter, Minnesota will also send a voter registration form with your absentee ballot.

Complete your absentee ballot in front of a notary or witness.  Unless the witness is a notary, the witness must be a registered Minnesota voter.  The witness is to observe that the ballot is blank before you fill it out, and then witness the action of you filling it out.  The witness should do this from afar, however, and not observe how you voted (ie - your selections). Once you've completed your ballot, place it into the provided security envelope.   Both you and your witness must sign and date the envelope where indicated and the witness must write his/her address, to verify that he/she is a registered voter.

If you fill out the return envelope incorrectly, your absentee ballot will be rejected.  Please check everything twice before sending it back to your Local Election Official!

If you return your ballot by mail, it must be received on or before election day.  If you return it in person, it must be received by 5pm on the day before the election.  You may also have someone else return your completed ballot, sealed in its envelope, to your local election official by 3pm on election day. (Persons delivering ballots may not do so for more than three voters.)

If you're an unregistered voter, complete your voter registration form in front of the notary or witness as well.  Show your proof of residency to the notary or witness.  The following are considered proof of residency: 

  • A valid Minnesota driver’s license, learner’s permit, Minnesota ID card, or receipt for any of these
  • A valid student ID card including your photo, if your college has provided a student housing list to election officials
  • A Tribal ID card that contains your picture and signature 
  • A valid registration in the same precinct under a different name or address 
  • A notice of late registration sent to you by your county auditor or city clerk
  • A voter registered in the same precinct as you who can confirm your address with a signed oath
  • An employee of the residential facility where you live who can confirm your address with a signed oath

Alternatively, you may show the notary or witness one photo ID from the list below AND one a current bill with your current name and address to the precinct.

  • Photo IDs (may be expired): Minnesota Driver's License, Minnesota ID Card, United States Passport, United States Military ID Card, Tribal ID Card, Minnesota University, College, or Technical College ID Card
  • Bills (delivered electronically or by mail): Utility bill due within 30 days of the election (telephone bill, cable bill, internet bill, electic bill, gas bill, solid waste bill, sewer services bill, water bill); Rent statement dated within 30 days of election day that itemizes utilities; or current student fee statement

Mail everything back to the address on the return envelope. Your absentee ballot (and voter registration form) must be received on or before election day.

Frequently Asked Questions:

I'm a registered Minnesota voter.  Do I need to provide ID when I apply for my absentee ballot?

If you have already voted in Minnesota and have not moved or changed your name, you do not need to provide ID. If you have moved (even from one apartment to another) or changed your name, you will need to re-register to vote and will need to provide proof of residence.  You can find the list of acceptable forms of proof of residence on the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

Can I vote by absentee ballot on a permanent basis in Minnesota?

Under certain circumstances, yes.  If you are permanently disabled; unable to vote on election day due to religious holiday; an election judge in another precinct; or away from your home on an ongoing basis, you may apply for permanent absentee voter status. Download and complete the Minnesota Application to Automatically Receive Absentee Ballot Applications.  Once you are approved, you'll receive an absentee ballot application by mail before every election.  You'll still need to return the application, however, to receive your absentee ballot.

Can I vote in person before the election in Minnesota?

Yes. Check out our Early Voting page for details.

Additional Information

State Election Website: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/home/index.asp?page=4
Email: elections.dept@state.mn.us
Local Election Officials: Your Local Election Official is the best person to contact if you have questions.  They'll be able to provide up-to-date information on rules and deadlines. 

 

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