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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Newsletter Review
Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State Newsletter - August 2012
Posted Date: 8/1/2012

  Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State



August 1, 2012
1. State Primary Election - Tuesday, August 14
2. Absentee Balloting Period for State Primary Ends August 13
3. Absentee Ballot Lookup
4. Polling Place Finder Updated with New District Information
5. Constitutional Amendment Webpage
6. Voter Outreach and Education: Coming to a Community Near You

7. Notary Commission Renewals

8. National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion Award Recipient

9. August Open Appointments

10. Flag Etiquette Brochures Available

1.  State Primary Election - Tuesday, August 14
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie encourages Minnesotans to vote in the Tuesday, August 14 primary.  A state primary election serves a different purpose than a general election.  For partisan races, a primary election narrows the field of candidates for the three major political parties: Republican, Independence, and Democratic-Farmer-Labor to those who will be on the general election ballot. Primary voters also narrow the field of nonpartisan candidates in contests for judicial, county and local offices.  Voters will elect those who will represent them in public office during the general election held on November 6.

Minnesota has an "open primary," which means that voters are not required to register with a political party. However, primary voters cannot vote for candidates in more than one political party.

Most polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Minnesota has Election Day registration, which allows voters to register to vote at the polls. For more information about voter registration and candidates appearing on the ballot, visit the secretary of state's one-stop voter information webpage at  

Unofficial primary election results will be posted after the polls close at 8 p.m. on election night at

2.  Absentee Balloting Period for State Primary Ends August 13
The absentee voting period for the state primary election ends August 13.  Minnesota’s voters may only vote absentee for one of the following reasons:  absence from the precinct; observance of religious discipline or holiday; illness or disability; serving as an election judge in another precinct; or when an emergency or quarantine is declared by the governor, or federal or state government.
To ensure that their absentee ballot is successfully cast and counted, voters must follow the instructions and fill out the required forms completely.
Voters may visit their county auditor’s office, or in some cases their city clerk’s office, to vote in-person absentee. To get absentee voting forms or additional information visit:
It is important to note that Military and Overseas voters have different absentee balloting procedures.  The Minnesota Military and Overseas Voters Service provides information for these voters at:

3.  Absentee Ballot Lookup
The Absentee Ballot Lookup allows a voter to track where their ballot is in the process and when it has been successfully counted.  In addition, helpful links to additional voter resources such as county auditor contacts and a listing of candidates appearing on voters’ ballots is also provided. 

The Absentee Ballot Lookup can be accessed at  Information for Military and Overseas voters is available on the Overseas Vote Foundation website at:

4.  Polling Place Finder Updated with New District InformationThe Polling Place Finder has been updated to reflect redistricting changes.  A link to the Polling Place Finder and other voter and election information is available at:

5.  Constitutional Amendment Webpage
The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State website hosts a Constitutional Amendment voter information webpage on the Office’s voter education website
This voter education webpage will help voters educate themselves about the constitutional amendment process by providing answers to frequently asked questions about the amendment process and other voter education resources.

In addition, as required by MN Statutes 10.60 Subd. 4 (d) (2),  the website posts links from any individual or group advocating for or against or who takes a neutral position in respect to a ballot question.  These links will be maintained until the business day following the day on which the State Canvassing Board has declared the results of the state general election or November 30 whichever date is earlier.

If an individual or group would like to have a link to their Constitutional Amendment information displayed on this webpage, they must submit a request in writing to  The request must include a valid website address and contact information including a current email address.

Additional voter education information is available at or by contacting the Office’s voter outreach director at: 651-201-1339. 

6.  Voter Outreach and Education: Coming to a Community Near You
August is a busy month for the Voter Outreach staff as we travel from Farm Fest in Redwood Falls to the State Fair engaging voters in the elections process.

The State Fair is an especially exciting time to talk with Minnesotans about our state’s best-in-the-nation election system and our collective efforts to stay number one in voter participation. Plan to visit our booth in the Education Building at the State Fair to learn about the elections process. While there you can vote for your Minnesota Favorite (we suspect it will be another close race between cheese curds and chocolate chip cookies for Favorite Fair Food), participate in our Vote in Honor of a Veteran program, and learn how you can get involved this election year.  

  • Saturday, August 25 and Saturday, September 1, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., we will be hosting Civics Saturday at the Fair. Stop by the booth to learn about other organizations in Minnesota providing civic and character education services for youth in our communities. 
  • Tuesday, August 28 is Military Appreciation Day at the Fair. Please stop by our booth to show your support for our veterans and those who are currently serving by taping a Vote in Honor of a Veteran tribute. These short tributes tell your fellow Minnesotans why you are honoring a loved one who served by voting this November. 

We look forward to seeing you at the Fair!  Check out the on-line calendar at  for a complete listing of all the places the Voter Outreach staff will be available to provide voter education and registration information.

7.   Notary Commission Renewals
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie today reminded notaries whose commissions will expire in 2013 to renew their commissions online at: The notary commission renewal period began August 1 and ends January 31, 2013.

Notaries public are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate after filing with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.  Notaries hold office for a five-year term.  Their commission expires on January 31 in the fifth year after the commission was issued.  Once a notary public is commissioned or renews their commission, they must also register their commission in the county where they reside.  
The cost of a commission or for renewing a commission is $120 payable to the state plus a $20 fee to register with the county.  Notaries who are unable to file online, may submit renewal filings by mail to:  Minnesota Secretary of State, 60 Empire Drive, St. Paul, MN 55103.  
If a notary public commission expires, a notary must seek reappointment by submitting a completed Notary Public Application.  Application forms are available online by visiting, or by contacting the office at 651-296-2803. 

8.  National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion Award Recipients
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie presented four Minnesotans with 2012 National Secretaries of State Medallion Award for their work with the Safe at Home address confidentiality program. 

A NASS Medallion Award is presented by a Secretary of State to recognize extraordinary public service in promoting the goals of NASS in the areas of elections, civic education, service to state government and philanthropy. The 2012 NASS Medallion Award recipients are:

  • Sue Kendrick, Department of Public Safety - Division of Motor and Vehicle Services
    Sue Kendrick went above and beyond to help Safe at Home participants who were experiencing problems with Driver and Vehicle Services. She promptly responded to participants and took the initiative to educate other department staff about the importance of following procedures for Safe at Home participants.
  • Patti Jo Kewatt, Xcel Energy
    For the past four years, Patti Jo Kewatt was the Xcel Energy contact person for all Safe at Home participants. She took on this responsibility shortly after Safe at Home began in 2007, and has done a terrific job making Safe at Home participants feel comfortable and confident that their account information was confidentially handled.  Patti Jo has recently taken a new position at Xcel.  We thank her for the work she has done to assist people in need. 
  • Melinda Hugdahl, Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance
    Melinda Hugdahl has been instrumental in passing important legislation that further ensures participants' addresses remain confidential when they are involved with ongoing legal actions. Her dedication and leadership at the legislature made Safe at Home an even better safety measure for participants.
  • Susan Anderson, Anoka County
    Susan Anderson has made Safe at Home a more effective program by raising awareness about  the public nature of marriage records and the potential safety issues program participants may encounter.  She worked diligently to help other county record offices understand the importance of privacy and confidentiality when maintaining records of Safe at Home participants. 

Sue Kendrick and Patti Jo Kewatt were presented their awards on July 18 at the State Office Building, in St. Paul, Minnesota.   Melinda Hugdahl received her award on July 20 at the Legal Services Partners meeting being held at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. Susan Anderson’s award was presented at the Association of Metropolitan Counties meeting at Edinburgh in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota on August 1.

The Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program was established by the legislature almost five years ago to help protect Minnesotans who fear for their safety.   This program protects the physical location of program participants so that they can resume their daily routines without the risk of their abusers discovering their actual address.  Additional information about the Safe at Home program is available at or by calling 651-201-1399 or toll free: 1-866-723-3035.

9.  August Open Appointments
Groups with one or more vacancies that will be published on Monday, August 6, 2012 include:

-     Advisory Committee to the Program Committee of the Health Professionals Services 
-     Board of Dietetics and Nutrition Practice
-     Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training
-     Board of Podiatric Medicine
-     Compensation Council
-     Dairy Research, Teaching and Consumer Education Authority (NEW)
-     (Drug) Formulary Committee
-     Governor’s Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Childhood Intervention
-     Lake Superior Center Authority
-     Metropolitan Airports Commission
-     Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force
-     Minnesota Resource Center Advisory Committee: Blind/Visually Impaired
-     State Advisory Council on Mental Health
-     State Non-Motorized Transportation Advisory Committee
-     State Rehabilitation Council

Additional open appointment information is available at:

Subscribe to the monthly open appointments vacancy email notification at:

If you have questions about open appointments, please contact this office at:

10.   Flag Etiquette Brochures Available
The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State has “Guide to Flag Etiquette” brochures    available.  This brochure provides information on the proper handling and display of the
flag.  Order a “Guide to Flag Etiquette” brochure by emailing this office at: or call 651-201-1324. The brochure is also available online as
a PDF document  at:

A Public Service Announcement from Secretary Mark Ritchie about the importance of Flag 
Etiquette is available at:

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