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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Newsletter Review
Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State Newsletter - October 2012
Posted Date: 10/1/2012

 Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State


Newsletter


October 1, 2012

ELECTIONS & VOTING
1. Registering to Vote
- Voter Pre-Registration Deadline—October 16
- Voter Registration Lookup

2. Voting Absentee
- Absentee Balloting
- Absentee Ballot Lookup
- Military and Overseas Voter Service Website Updated

3. Voting on Election Day, November 6, 2012
- Same Day Registration
- My Ballot Online Tool
- Polling Place Finder
- Constitutional Amendment Webpage

BUSINESS & Nonprofits
4. Notary Commission Renewals

SAFE AT HOME
5. Safe at Home and Voting

OPEN APPOINTMENTS
6. October Open Appointments

CIVIC EDUCATION
7. Flag Etiquette Brochures Available


ELECTIONS & VOTING

1. Voter Registration

- 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 www.mnvotes.org 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 www.mnvotes.org.

- Voter Registration Lookup
Voters can use the office’s online Voter Registration Lookup at www.mnvotes.org 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 date of the next election and a list of candidates.

2. Voting Absentee

- Voting Absentee
A Minnesota voter 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.

Attention deer hunters! If you will be out of town on Election Day, November 6, you will need 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: www.mnvotes.org.

Please note: Military and Overseas voters have different absentee balloting procedures. The Minnesota Military and Overseas Voter Service provides information for these voters at: https://minnesota.overseasvotefoundation.org.

- 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 www.mnvotes.org. Information for military and overseas voters is available on the Minnesota Military and Overseas Voter Service website at: https://minnesota.overseasvotefoundation.org.

- Military and Overseas Voter Service Website Updated
The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State has updated the Minnesota Military and Overseas Voter Service website with a $226,255 Department of Defense Federal Grant.
The enhanced website now includes clear step-by-step instructions, instructional videos on how to apply and return an absentee ballot, a new option that provides voters with the candidates and ballot questions that will be on their ballots, and a customized update for the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot that will provide voters with the names of the candidates in federal, state, and local races.

Military and overseas voters are encouraged to use the Military and Overseas Voter Service website to apply for their absentee ballots. Voters can access the website at: https://minnesota.overseasvotefoundation.org.

Minnesota law allows military personnel and voters overseas the option of receiving their ballots electronically but requires the voters to return paper copies of their ballots.

Additional information on voter eligibility and registration is available by visiting the secretary of state’s voter webpage: www.mnvotes.org.

DISCLAIMER: This effort is funded through a grant from the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP). The content of this information does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Government, and no official Government endorsement should be inferred.

3. Voting on Election Day, November 6, 2012

- Same Day Registration
Voters who are not already registered at their current address can still register to vote on Election Day at their polling place as long as they provide proper proof of residence.

Voters can check to see if they are registered to vote at their current address on the Office of the Secretary of State website at www.mnvotes.org. If a voter is not registered, they must bring proof of residence with them to their polling location to register on Election Day.

To be eligible to vote you must: be a U.S. citizen; be at least 18 years old on Election Day; have resided in Minnesota for at least 20 days immediately preceding Election Day; have any felony conviction completed or discharged; not have had your voting rights revoked by a court; and not have been found legally incompetent by a court.

Voters need to re-register if they change their names, do not vote for four years, or when they move, even if it is between apartments.

Voters can get information on same day voter registration, absentee voting, candidate information, and a “Polling Place Finder” to determine their polling location and receive a listing of candidates appearing on their ballot at: www.mnvotes.org.

For additional assistance, voters may contact their county election official or the Office of Secretary of State, Elections Division at: 651-215-1440 or 1-877-600-8683.

On Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 2012, most polling locations will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

- My Ballot Online Tool
The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State has launched a new online tool to provide voters with information about the candidates and ballot questions on their November 6 General Election ballot. My Ballot allows users to view a list of what will be on their ballot and provides links to information about candidates and ballot questions.

My Ballot features: 
- A comprehensive list of all candidates and ballot questions appearing on a voter’s ballot on November 6, 2012.
- Links to candidate websites that were provided by the candidates and to the language of ballot  
  questions (constitutional amendments, local government questions)
- A link to a sample ballot, if provided by the county
- Links to Polling Place Finder, Absentee Ballot Lookup and Voter Registration Lookup

My Ballot can be accessed at: http://myballotmn.sos.state.mn.us/ or at: www.mnvotes.org.

- Polling Place Finder
The 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: www.mnvotes.org

- 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 www.mnvotes.org.

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 secretary.state@state.mn.us. The request must include a valid url website address and contact information including a current email address.

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

BUSINESS & NONPROFITS

4. Notary Commission Renewals

Notaries whose commissions will expire in 2013 need to renew their commissions online at: https://notary.sos.state.mn.us. 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 https://notary.sos.state.mn.us, or by contacting the office at 651-296-2803.

SAFE AT HOME

5. Important Voting Information for Safe at Home Participants

People who participate in the Safe at Home Program should not go their local polling place to vote. Doing so will compromise the confidentiality of their physical address. Instead, Safe at Home participants can register to be absentee voters through Safe at Home. Through this voting process, a participant’s ballot is submitted to their county elections office without the participant’s name or address being disclosed.

More information about this important program is available at www.sos.state.mn.us or by calling 651-201-1399 or toll-free: 1-866-723-3035.

OPEN APPOINTMENTS

6. October Open Appointments

Vacancies published on October 1 include:
     - Advisory Committee for the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library
     - Fire Protection Advisory Council
     - Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
     - MN Board on Aging
     - Rehabilitation Review Panel
     - Statewide Geospatial Advisory Council
     - Tax Court

A note of additional interest: The November 2012 Open Appointments vacancy notice will include listings for all seats whose terms end in January 2013, along with seats that have continuing vacancies. Because this is a lengthy publication, please see our website on November 5, 2012 for the complete listing.

View open appointment information is available at: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.aspx?page=308.

Subscribe to the monthly open appointments vacancy email notification at: open.appointments@state.mn.us.

If you have questions about open appointments, please contact this office at: open.appointments@state.mn.us.

CIVIC EDUCATION

7. 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: secretary.state@state.mn.us or call 651-201-1324. The brochure is also available online as a PDF document at: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=10356

A Public Service Announcement from Secretary Mark Ritchie about the importance of Flag Etiquette is available at: http://www.sos.state.mn.us/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=11545

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