Skip to page body Home About Community Living Doing Business Browse by Topic I Want to... Your Government

Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

News Review
NEWS RELEASE: Absentee Balloting Period Begins Today
Posted Date: 9/20/2013

Dennis Smith (651) 297-8919

Voters Encouraged to Check Status of Their Absentee Ballots Online

SAINT PAUL, Minnesota —September 20, 2013—Secretary of State Mark Ritchie today announced that the absentee voting period for elections being held on November 5 across the state begins today and ends November 4. He also reminded voters to use the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s online tool to check the status of their absentee ballots.

“I encourage all eligible voters who are unable to get to their precinct polling place on Election Day, to participate in our democracy by casting an absentee ballot,” said Secretary of State Ritchie.

More than 35 municipalities across the state will hold elections on November 5 for various city officers; 113 school districts hold elections for school board members and/or will have ballot questions; and, special primary elections for select district commissioners will take place in Lake and St. Louis counties. Eligible voters will be able to register up until 5 p.m. on October 15. Pre-registration is not required, and eligible voters may register at their polling place on Election Day.

Current law allows an eligible Minnesota voter to cast an absentee ballot 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 quarantine is declared by the federal or state government. As a result of a new law passed by the Minnesota Legislature this spring, voters will be able to cast absentee ballots without having to provide an excuse beginning with next year’s state primary in August 2014.

To ensure their absentee ballot is successfully cast and counted, voters must follow the instructions and fill out the required forms completely. In addition, the online absentee ballot lookup online tool allows voters to track the progress of their ballot to ensure it has been successfully counted. Absentee voting forms, voter information and the absentee ballot lookup can be found by visiting For information regarding in-person absentee voting, voters should contact their municipal clerk, school district clerk or county auditor.

Military and overseas voters have different absentee balloting procedures. Information is available for these voters at:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mark Ritchie is Minnesota's 21st Secretary of State. Downloadable press photograph available at: