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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Frequently Asked Questions - Absentee Voting

Do I need to apply for an Absentee Ballot for each election?
What if my absentee ballot does not arrive, is lost, or is damaged?
If I use a notary public as witness for my absentee ballot, does he/she also have to be registered to vote in Minnesota?
What if there is a problem with my absentee ballot?
Is it true that absentee ballots are not counted unless a race is close?
After I voted by absentee ballot, I changed my mind about one of my votes. Can I make changes after I submit my ballot?

Q: Do I need to apply for an Absentee Ballot for each election?
A:

Yes, but if you reasonably expect to have one of the acceptable reasons for voting by absentee ballot apply to you on an ongoing basis, then you can ask to be placed on a list of voters who automatically receive absentee ballot applications prior to each election. Contact your local election official for more information.  Use the Election Official Directory to find county contact information.

Q: What if my absentee ballot does not arrive, is lost, or is damaged?
A:

In any of these cases, you should contact your local elections official to let them know that you need another ballot. Find county contact information using the Election Official Directory.

You can get your replacement ballot either in person or by mail. The election official will note that your first ballot is “spoiled” and it will not be counted, so be sure to return your replacement ballot, even if you find or receive your original ballot. 

Q: If I use a notary public as witness for my absentee ballot, does he/she also have to be registered to vote in Minnesota?
A:

No. Notaries public serving as a witnesses for absentee ballots do not need to be registered to vote in Minnesota. Notaries should write their name and title, sign the absentee ballot envelope, and affix their stamp.

Q: What if there is a problem with my absentee ballot?
A:

Local election officials are required to review absentee ballot envelopes within days of receiving them to ensure that they meet the legal requirements to be counted. If there is a problem with your absentee ballot and it is rejected more than five days before the election, you will receive a replacement ballot in the mail along with an explanation of why your ballot did not meet the requirements to be counted. If your ballot is rejected within five days of the election, your local election official will attempt to contact you, and you will be allowed to vote at the polls on Election Day.

Q: Is it true that absentee ballots are not counted unless a race is close?
A:
No. Absentee ballots are counted, regardless of the outcome of the election. Accepted absentee ballots are counted just as are other ballots in each precinct, and vote totals include all of the accepted absentee ballots.
Q: After I voted by absentee ballot, I changed my mind about one of my votes. Can I make changes after I submit my ballot?
A:

It depends upon when you change your mind.

If it is more than four days before the election (on or before the Friday before the election), you can cast another ballot. Contact your county auditor or city clerk to let them know that you do not want your previous ballot counted. You can then have them send you a new ballot, can go into their office to vote by absentee ballot in person (up until 5:00 pm the day before the election) or, if your circumstances have changed and you are now able, you can vote in person at your polling place.

If it is after the close of business on the fourth day before the election (the Friday before) and your absentee ballot has been accepted, it is too late to cast another ballot.

 

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