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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

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Minnesota Military and Overseas Voters Need to Apply for Their Absentee Ballots –NOW
Posted Date: 10/24/2012


CONTACT: Patricia Turgeon
(651) 201-1332

                  Minnesota Military and Overseas Voters Need to Apply for Their Absentee Ballots –NOW

ST. PAUL, Minn.—October 24, 2012—Secretary of State Mark Ritchie today announced those serving in the military and overseas voters need to apply for their ballots now to have time to return them by Election Day. 

“Military and overseas voters need to apply for their ballots now,” explained Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. “If you are in the military or will be overseas on Election Day, you should submit an absentee ballot application to your county auditor and request that your ballot be either emailed or faxed to you. You need to do so as soon as possible so that you’ll have time to mail it back to Minnesota to be counted on November 6.”

Military and overseas voters are encouraged to use the Military and Overseas Voter Service website to apply for their absentee ballots.  Absentee ballot applications may be submitted by email, fax or mail.  Minnesota law allows military personnel and voters overseas the option of receiving their ballots electronically but requires the voters to return their ballots by mail.  

This year, as in years past, the Overseas Vote Foundation has partnered with Federal Express to offer Express Your Vote, a program which offers express mail services at greatly discounted rates for those living overseas to utilize when returning their ballots. This offer ends on October 31.

If military or overseas voters have already requested  ballots but have not received them in time to return them via mail or express mail, they can vote by filling out  Federal Write-In Absentee Ballots or FWABs.  For the first time ever, voters can use a newly designed tool for FWABs that presents them with a list of candidates to choose from, based upon where they live, enabling them to vote in races in which they might not otherwise know the names of the candidates. 

Citizens residing permanently overseas can use FWABs to vote in federal races such as U.S. President, U.S. Senator and U.S. Congressional candidates. Voters in the military or temporarily residing overseas can vote for state and judicial candidates as well as the two constitutional amendments.  These voters can write-in their choices for local races on their ballots.  To learn about the candidates and questions on their ballot, voters should visit the My Ballot tool.

Absentee voters can track the status of their absentee ballot by using the Absentee Ballot Lookup and find additional voting information at
“Ensuring that the votes of those serving our nation overseas are received on time and counted is one of my top priorities," said Secretary of State Ritchie. “Members of our armed forces and citizens overseas still have time to return their ballots by Election Day.”


Editor's note: Mark Ritchie is Minnesota's 21st Secretary of State. A downloadable press photograph is available at: