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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

News Review
A Primer on the August 12 Primary Election
Posted Date: 8/5/2014

Contact: Nathan Bowie, (651) 297-8919,

SAINT PAUL, Minnesota — Primary Election Day is one week away on Tuesday, August 12, when voters will decide which candidates will represent their political party in the November 4 General Election.

In Minnesota partisan primary elections, voters do not need to publically declare affiliation with a party — they are free to vote for any one political party on the ballot. Voting for candidates from more than one party voids all votes in the party portion of the ballot.

The front of the ballot will have a column for each major political party and their candidates. The backside will include nonpartisan races for local and judicial candidates that are not affiliated with political parties. For these races, voters can choose any candidate — and in some cases multiple candidates — in as many races as they prefer. Primary ballots do not allow for write-in votes.

Voters can view their sample ballot at

Get Ready to Vote at
Minnesota voters are encouraged to get ready to vote by visiting to check their registration status, view their sample ballot, find their polling place, learn how to register at their polling place, and more.

Voters still have time to request an absentee ballot at to vote early, or do so at their local elections office before Primary Election Day. For the first time, Minnesota voters do not need an excuse to vote absentee, such as being ill or out of the precinct. Voters can also use the website to track the status of their absentee ballot to learn when it was mailed, and if their completed ballot was received and accepted by their local elections office. Mail ballot voters may also use this tool. Absentee ballots must be returned on or before Election Day, depending on the delivery method.

A Significant Election Year
This year, Minnesota voters will head to the polls to decide a U.S. Senate seat, all of Minnesota’s eight U.S. House seats, as well as governor and other state officers, and all Minnesota State House seats. The 2014 election will also include many county commissioners, county sheriffs, county attorneys, auditors, treasurers and recorders.

2014 Key Election Dates

  • August 12 — Primary Election Day.
  • September 19 — Absentee ballots will be available for the November 4 General Election.
  • October 14 — Pre-registration deadline for the General Election. Voters are encouraged to pre-register to vote to avoid long lines and waits at the polling place. Voters who miss this deadline may still register at their polling place on Election Day, November 4.
  • November 4 — General Election Day.

View all 2014 election dates and sign up to receive election-related email updates.

About the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
The Secretary of State is the chief election official in Minnesota and is responsible for the administration of the state’s election law. In this capacity, the office operates the Statewide Voter Registration System and prepares the official roster of voters for every election. The office also accepts filings by candidates, trains local election officials, and conducts voter education and outreach programs.

The Secretary of State is the keeper of the Great Seal of Minnesota and has the role of certifying the authenticity of a wide variety of official documents, including proclamations and executive orders.

A main function of the office is the review, approval and filing of articles of incorporation and amendments for all businesses and nonprofit organizations conducting business in Minnesota. The Secretary of State also processes all notary public applications; serves as the state’s central filing system for lien information related to the Uniform Commercial Code; and administers Safe at Home, an address confidentiality program designed to assist Minnesotans who fear for their safety.