Minnesota Secretary Of State - Secretary Simon Calls on Legislature to Fix Flawed Timeline for Future Special Elections
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Secretary Simon Calls on Legislature to Fix Flawed Timeline for Future Special Elections

January 29, 2019

SD11 Voter ballots must be received by election officials on or before Election Day

SAINT PAUL – Secretary of State Steve Simon today announced that he is working with the legislature to extend the time period for future special elections. Under current state law, the Governor must call for a special election when there is a legislative vacancy during the legislative session. A vacancy opened earlier this year in Senate District 11. As a result of that vacancy, on January 3, 2019, former Governor Mark Dayton called for a Special Election in Senate District 11. State Law allows only 35 days between the Governor’s issuance of a Writ of Special Election to the date of the General Election.

“I’ve been hearing from frustrated voters in Senate District 11 who are concerned their vote won’t be counted,” said Secretary Simon. “I share their frustration and that’s why I am working with the legislature to fix the timeline for carrying out future special elections. There is simply not enough time under the current law to hold a primary and general election, and to ensure the ease of voting that Minnesotans expect.”

SD11 encompasses parts of Carlton, Kanabec, Pine, and St. Louis Counties. Carlton and Pine counties include some mail-ballot only precincts. Because of the truncated timeline for this special election, some mail ballot voters were unable to return their ballots on or before Primary Election Day. Under Minnesota law, only ballots received on or before Election Day will be counted.

“I know that county elections officials are working hard to get ballots out to voters,” said Secretary Simon. “This is a bad situation and I trust the legislature is going to make necessary changes to prevent this from happening again. For this election, if you’re a voter in SD11 and you’re concerned about your ballot being received in time, please contact your local elections officials to determine available alternatives to mailing that ballot.”

Elections offices in Carlton, Kanabec, Pine, and St. Louis Counties will be open during regular business hours between today and Election Day, and will also be open on Saturday, February 2, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Voters who may be concerned that their mail ballots won't reach election officials in time can vote in-person or return their mail ballot in person at their local elections office:

Carlton County: 301 Walnut Ave., Carlton, MN 55718, phone: (218) 384-9127
Kanabec County: 18 N. Vine St., Mora, MN 55051, phone: (320) 679-6430
Pine County: 635 Northridge Dr., NW, Pine City, MN 55063, phone: (320) 591-1670
St. Louis County: 100 North 5th Avenue West, Duluth, MN, 55802, phone: (218) 726-2385

More information is available at mnvotes.org.