Minnesota Secretary Of State - High School Student Resources for Elections
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High School Student Resources for Elections

High School Student Resources
for Elections and Civic Engagement

Info You Can Use: FAQ style!


There's a lot to learn about being a part of your community-from your neighborhood to being a global citizen-and it starts with answering two questions (that take time and work to answer):

1) What do I believe?

2) What do I want to do about it?

What you won't find here are the answer those questions.  Those are your answers to come to!  What you also won't find here is what side to take or what vote to cast.  Again- that's up to you.
What WILL you find here?  Help with the tools, resources, and skills that can help you answer those questions. 




Reach out
with questions and page suggestions





short answers

Helpful Links

Can I vote?

To vote you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 years old on Election Day (16 & 17 year-olds can pre-register)
  • A resident of Minnesota for 20 days
  • Not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction
  • Not under a court order that says you can't vote


If I preregister at 16 or 17,
THEN can I vote?


Nope.  When you preregister, you will automatically be registered to vote when you turn 18. Your county will send you a postcard to tell you that you have been registered, and to check that mail comes to your address.(The Secretary of State likes to say, "When you turn 18, you may get a present, maybe a slice of cake, but you also get formal political power.")  Hopefully it will get you thinking about elections as they happen, though, and that's a great thing!


So, what CAN I do before I turn 18?


So much!  You can be an Election Judge Trainee, attend Youth Day at the Capitol, help your school hold a mock election, volunteer for a campaign, attend school board and city council meetings or write your elected representatives.




That seems like
a lot in one answer. 
Can you break it down?


You bet!

1) Election Judge Trainees are paid Election Judges (people who help run elections in Minnesota in their neighborhoods) who are 16 and 17 years old.  They get excused from school, help voters who come to cast their vote (by checking them in, handing them their ballot, and other jobs you get paid training to learn!), earn decent money, and help make elections happen in our state.  If you speak more than one language, that can be helpful too.


Keep going.  What's
Youth Day at the Capitol?  


Youth Day at the Capitol (YDAC) is actually two things.  Once a year (usually late February) about 600 6th-12th graders come to the State Capitol to learn how to advocate (speak up for what they believe), meet with their legislators (elected officials), hear talks by Minnesota Constitutional Officers, and do other activities around their voice in government.  The other thing is a newer program where schools do a lot of the same things but at their schools. No picture on the Capitol Steps, but the rest is pretty much the same!


Mock Election?


Yes!  Every two years (statewide elections years) hundreds of thousands of Minnesota students of all grades learn the how-to of voting by participating in Students Voting.  Schools sign up (FREE!), get free materials (including realistic sample ballots so you know what they look like and how to cast your vote when you are ready to vote for real) 'I've Voted' stickers, and more.  Send the link to your teacher or principal!


What's an Election Judge Trainee?


Election Judges are the people hired (PAID!) to help run voting in local polling places on Election Day.  Trainees are 16 and 17-year-olds who do many of the same jobs (greeting, checking people in, handing out and explaining ballots, handing out stickers, and more).

Learn more about
being an Election Judge Trainee



How do I register or preregister to vote?


There are two ways to preregister or register to vote.

1) Fill out a paper application form and mail it in. You can download and print paper applications in 11 languages.

2) Fill out the registration application online. There is nothing to print, and nothing to mail. You can do it on your phone, tablet, or computer.


What will they ask me on the voter registration form?




Full Name


Date of Birth

Minnesota State I.D. Number
Last 4 Digits of Your Social Security Number

Sign an Oath That You are Telling the Truth


When can I register to vote.


You can preregister from your 16th birthday until you are 18.  It will automatically register you on your 18th birthday.

When you are 18 or older, register any time up to 21 days before an election, or when you vote.

You will get a postcard confirming that you are registered.