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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Newsletter Review
Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State Newsletter - September 2012
Posted Date: 9/5/2012

    Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State



September 5, 2012
1. State Primary Election Wrap-up
2. Absentee Balloting Period for General Election Begins September 21
3. Absentee Ballot Lookup
4. Voter Pre-Registration Deadline—October 16
5. Voter Registration Lookup
6. Constitutional Amendment Webpage
7. Voter Outreach and Education: Get Registered, Get Informed, Go Vote
8. National Voter Registration Day—September 25
9. Vote in Honor of a Veteran

10. Notary Commission Renewals
11. Legal Newspaper Filing Period Began September 1

12.   Safe at Home Update

13.  September Open Appointments

14.  Flag Etiquette Brochures Available


1.   State Primary Election Wrap-up
The state primary election was held on Tuesday, August 14. The State Canvassing Board met on August 21 and certified the election results. 

Election statistics indicate that there are 290 federal, state and judicial offices to be filled in the general election on November 6.  There are 531 candidates seeking to fill those offices.

Official election results and the state canvassing report can be found are posted at:

2.   Absentee Balloting Period for General Election Begins September 21
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 is declared by the governor or a quarantine is declared by the federal or state government.

Deer hunters who will be out of town on Election Day, November 6, are encouraged to vote by absentee ballot.

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:

Please note:  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, links to additional voter resources such as county auditor contacts and a listing of candidates appearing on a voter’s ballot are 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.   Voter Pre-Registration deadline—October 16
State law requires Minnesotans to be registered at their current address before they are allowed to vote. Registrations remain current until voters move or change their names. Voters must also re-register if they have not voted in the last four years.

The voter pre-registration deadline for the November 6, General Election is Tuesday, October 16.  Minnesotans may pre-register to vote by completing a voter registration application and submitting it to their county auditor's office or the Office of the Secretary of State. Applications are available online at or at county government offices and public libraries.

Those who register prior to the deadline will appear in the roster at their polling place and will not have to provide additional information at the polling place on Election Day.  Minnesota allows eligible voters to register on Election Day as long as they provide proper proof of residence. For more information about voting eligibility requirements, visit

5.   Voter Registration Lookup
Voters can use the office’s online Voter Registration Lookup at to quickly learn whether they are registered at their current address. This online tool will let voters know whether their polling place has changed due to redistricting and provide additional information such as how to register, the dates of the next election and a list of candidates.

6.   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 Minnesota 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. 

7.   Voter Outreach and Education: Get Registered, Get Informed, Go Vote
The Office of the Secretary of State Outreach Team started out the month of September with “Civics Saturday” at the Minnesota State Fair.  We had a great time at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.  We had over 1200 Minnesotans register to vote, kicked off our 2012 Vote in Honor of a Veteran initiative and counted the Minnesota Favorites votes. 

2012 State Fair Minnesota Favorites balloting totals:
    - Cheese Curds: 295
    - Chocolate Chip Cookies: 291
    - Pronto Pups: 175
    - Sno Cones: 158

This month our outreach staff will continue their travels across the state educating and engaging voters.  This month will find us at the Red Wing Diversity Fair on Saturday, September 8; the Walk for Wheels on Saturday, September 15 in Fort Snelling; riding along in the St. Paul bookmobile; Constitution Day Activities at campuses in the metro area and at many other events. 

In addition, Secretary Ritchie will begin touring college campuses in mid-September encouraging young people to get registered and become engaged in the elections process.   

More information about all these activities, including a full schedule of events and workshops, is available at

8.  National Voter Registration Day—September 25
September 25th is National Voter Registration Day and voter registration and education activities will be occurring throughout the state.  This Office is partnering with the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits and the League of Minnesota Cities to encourage eligible voters to register to vote before Election Day on
November 6. 

To learn more visit:

9.   Vote In Honor of a Veteran
The 2012 Vote in Honor of a Veteran initiative was kicked off this year on Military Appreciation Day at the Minnesota State Fair. This initiative is part of the secretary’s ongoing outreach effort to engage voters. This Office will again partner with Kids Voting and the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs to continue this popular program to remind voters of the sacrifices made by military personnel to safe-guard our freedom and protect our right to vote.

The response to this program since it was first initiated in 2008 has been overwhelming. The program encourages voters throughout the election season to wear a Vote In Honor of a Veteran lapel button which they personalize with the name of a military veteran or active-duty military personnel. The button acknowledges a veteran’s service and affirms a commitment to vote. Since the program began, this Office and our partners have distributed well over 100,000 lapel buttons.

In addition to wearing a lapel button, the program encourages participants to submit online tributes about a special veteran in their life. Tributes can be posted on the Office website at: .

Official Vote in Honor of a Veteran lapel buttons are available free-of-charge. To order a button, visit  For more information on the program call


10.   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 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. 

11.   Legal Newspaper Application Filing Period Began September 1
In August, the 2013 legal newspaper applications were mailed to approximately 350 newspapers.  Legal newspaper applications must be filed before December 31, 2012 for a newspaper to qualify as a legal newspaper for the entire 2013 calendar year. 

Applications received in this Office after January 1, 2013 are effective on the date they are filed in the Office.  Applications are also available online at:


12.  Safe at Home
The Safe at Home address confidentiality program helps survivors of domestic violence and others who fear for their safety by establishing a confidential mailing address.  This program helps survivors go about their daily lives without the risk of their abusers discovering their actual address. 

As families go back to school they should keep in mind that the law allows Safe at Home participants to use the Safe At Home P.O. Box address as their official school, home and work address.

More information about this important program is available at or by calling 651-201-1339 or toll-free: 1-866-723-3035.


13.   September Open Appointments
Groups with one or more vacancies that were published on Tuesday, September 4, 2012 include:

     - Advisory Committee on Architecture and Planning (NEW)
     - Athletic Trainers Advisory Council
     - Board of Firefighter Training and Education
     - Board on Judicial Standards
     - ClearWay Minnesota Board of Directors (NEW)
     - Criminal and Juvenile Justice Information Task Force (NEW)
     - Environmental Health Tracking and Biomonitoring Advisory Panel
     - Esthetician Medical Care and Two-Tier License Advisory Task Force (NEW)
     - Ombudsperson for Indian Families
     - Pesticide Management Plan Committee
     - Sex Offender Civil Commitment Advisory Task Force (NEW)
     - Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist Licensing Advisory Council
     - State Capitol Preservation Commission
     - Tax Court

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:


14.   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 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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