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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Military and Overseas Absentee Voting

Voters in the military and those voters residing outside the United States must follow a special process for voting absentee.

Requesting an Absentee Ballot

  • Apply 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

  • Uniformed or military personnel stationed (or serving) outside of their home precinct, and their spouse or dependents, may apply to vote absentee for all federal, state and local offices. This includes members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Citizens overseas temporarily may apply to vote absentee for all state, federal and local offices.
  • Citizens overseas indefinitely who have no plans to return to Minnesota, may apply to vote absentee for president, vice president, U.S. senator and U.S. representative. However, these voters cannot vote in state or local elections.

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.

Concerns About Not Getting a Ballot in Time

  • You can send an emergency ballot if you cannot return a regular ballot before Election Day. This is called the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB).
  • The FWAB is not a typical ballot—it does not list candidates. Instead, 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 Minnesota Military and Overseas Voter Service tool guides voters through the FWAB process, and provides the names of candidates in an election.
Last updated: 4/3/2014 10:31:48 AM