Minnesota Secretary Of State - Vote early by mail
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Important Changes to Office Operations: COVID-19 Information

Vote early by mail


To vote by mail, apply to have an absentee ballot mailed to you. You do not need to be registered to apply.

Read before you apply

For your ballot to count, remember this important information:

  1. Read the instructions that come with your ballot carefully.
  2. Your signature envelope might have a box for a witness to complete and sign. Due to COVID19, there is no witness requirement for registered voters for the August 11, 2020 State Primary. Non-registered voters will still need a witness, to indicate their proof of residence.
  3. Mail the ballot and forms back right away after you finish. Your returned ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day (August 11, 2020) and received by your county by the day before the county canvass, which may take place on the second or third day following the election.

Apply for absentee ballot

To request an absentee ballot for the August primary and/or November general election, use the online absentee application, or one of downloadable applications below. Return your completed absentee application to your county election office by mail, fax or email. 

Downloadable absentee applications:

To request an application in an alternative format such as Braille, please call 1-877-600-8683.

Application deadline

You can apply for a ballot any time during the year, except the day of the election. Leave time for election officials to mail your ballot. Your returned ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day (August 11, 2020) and received by your county by the day before the county canvass, which may take place on the second or third day following the election.

Deadline to return your ballot

Your ballot will not count if it is received after the deadline. It must be postmarked on or before Election Day (August 11, 2020) and received by your county by the day before the county canvass, which may take place on the second or third day following the election. Return your ballot by mail or package delivery service (such as FedEx or UPS). You can also return your ballot in person no later than 3 p.m. on Election Day to the election office that sent your ballot. You can drop off ballots for up to three other voters. You will need to show  identification with name and signature when returning a ballot for someone else.

Track your ballot

You can track the status of your ballot and confirm that it was received and counted.

 

Have an agent pick up your ballot (agent delivery)

In special situations, you may ask an agent to pick up and return an absentee ballot for you. This is called ‘agent delivery.’  Read more about agent delivery

To qualify for agent delivery, you must live in a:
  • nursing home
  • assisted living facility
  • residential treatment center
  • group home
  • battered women's shelter
  • or, be hospitalized or unable to go to the polling place due to incapacitating health reasons or a disability.

Your agent must be at least 18 years old, have a pre-existing relationship with you and cannot be a candidate. An individual cannot be an agent of more than three voters in an election.

Give your agent a completed absentee ballot application and a request for agent delivery of absentee ballot form. Have your agent take both forms to the local election office to receive your ballot.

Your agent can pick up your ballot starting seven days before the election until 2 p.m. on Election Day. Your agent or someone else you designate must return your ballot by 3 p.m. on Election Day. You can also return your ballot by mail. Your returned ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day (August 11, 2020) and received by your county by the day before the county canvass, which may take place on the second or third day following the election.

Print a factsheet on this topic

Visit our voter outreach materials page for educational factsheets on this and many other voting topics.

 


Frequently asked questions

Will my absentee ballot count?

Your absentee ballot will count as long as you return your ballot on time and fill out the forms correctly.

Who can witness my ballot?

Your signature envelope might have a box for a witness to complete and sign. Due to COVID19, there is no witness requirement for registered voters for the August 11, 2020 State Primary. Non-registered voters will still need a witness, to indicate their proof of residence. The witness can be either a registered Minnesota voter or a notary. Your witness must sign the signature envelope and list their address. Notaries should write their name and title, sign the signature envelope, and affix their notary stamp.

What happens after I return my ballot?

Local election officials must check that you and your witness filled out the signature envelope correctly. If you did not fill out the signature envelope correctly, election officials will mail you replacement materials, including an explanation for why your signature envelope was rejected. Or, if there are fewer than five days before Election Day, election officials will try to contact you. In this case, you can vote in person at your local election office or at your polling place on Election Day.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot?

You can ask the election office that sent your ballot for a replacement ballot. If there is not enough time to get a new ballot, completely cross out the name of the candidate you accidentally marked. Then mark the candidate you prefer. Do not initial your corrections.

What if my ballot has not arrived, is lost or damaged?

Contact your county election office. You can receive a replacement ballot in person or by mail. The election official will cancel your original ballot. Do not return your original ballot, even if you eventually find or receive it. Only return your replacement ballot.

What if I returned my ballot and want to change my vote?

You can ask to cancel your ballot until the close of business two weeks before Election Day. After that time, you cannot cancel your ballot. To cancel your ballot, contact the election office that sent your ballot. Your options are to have a new ballot mailed; vote in person at your local election office; or vote at your polling place on Election Day.

Can I have applications sent automatically?

You can have paper applications sent to you before each election. Send this form to your county election office to have an absentee ballot application automatically mailed to you before each election. Applications are mailed at least 60 days before an election.