Resources

In-State Student Guide for Registering to Vote in Minnesota

Qualifications

Before you can vote in any election in the state of Minnesota, the following qualifications must be met:

  1. Age: Must be at least 18-years-old on Election Day. This means that you can pre-register to vote at 17-years-old in Minnesota, but you must be at least 18-years-old when the election occurs.
  2. Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen
  3. Residency: Must be a resident of Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding Election Day
  4. Address: Must use the address where you current reside (live) in Minnesota
  5. Mental Competency: Cannot be under court-ordered guardianship where a court has revoked your voting rights or have been ruled legally incompetent by a court of law
  6. Felony Convictions: Must have any felony conviction record discharged, expired, or completed[1]

If you are unsure that you meet all of these qualifications, you can call the Secretary of State’s office at 1-877-600-VOTE (8683).

Next, you need to decide if you want to register before the election, or at your polling place on Election Day. It is recommended that you register before Election Day – it will save you time at your polling place!

Registering before Election Day

If you want to register to vote before Election Day, you need to do so at least 21 days before the election that you want to vote in. Online applications can be submitted until 11:59 p.m. on the date of the deadline.

You can register online.

You will need your Minnesota driver’s license, a Minnesota identification card number, or the last four numbers of your Social Security number.

However, if you do not have access to this information you will need to register by mail.

Once this form is complete, mail it to:
Secretary of State
60 Empire Drive Suite 100
St. Paul, MN 55103

Registering on Election Day

If you want to register at your polling location on Election Day, you must choose one of the following options below to verify your residence in your precinct.

Option 1: Bring ID with current name and address

This includes a valid Minnesota driver’s license, learner’s permit, or Minnesota ID card, or a Tribal ID card that contains your picture and signature.

Option 2: Bring photo ID plus a document with current name and address

If you do not have one of the forms of identification listed in option 1, you can bring an approved photo identification from COLUMN 1 below and an approved document listed in COLUMN 2. If you follow option 2, remember to bring one item from each column.

Option 3: Registered voter who can confirm your name and address. A registered voter from your precinct can go with you to the polling place to sign an oath confirming your address. A registered voter can vouch for up to eight others. A voter who registers by being vouched for cannot vouch for others.

If you have friends that live in the same dorm, apartment complex, or neighborhood as you and they are already registered to vote, they can vouch for you! To make sure that the person is registered in the same precinct as you, visit https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/.

Option 4: College student ID if a student housing list was provided. College students can use a student photo ID card if their college provided a student housing list to election officials.

If you have friends that live in the same dorm, apartment complex, or neighborhood as you and they are already registered to vote, they can vouch for you! To make sure that the person is registered in the same precinct as you, visit https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/.

Check with your county auditor’s office beforehand to make sure they have received your college’s information. Remember this option only works if you live in student housing on campus.

Option 5: Valid registration in same precinct

If you were previously registered in the precinct but changed names or moved within the same precinct, you only need to tell the elections official your previous name or address. No additional documentation is needed.

Option 6: Notice of late registration.

If you pre-registered to vote too close to Election Day, you may have received a Notice of Late Registration in the mail. This notice can be used to register.


FAQ

I think I already registered, but I am not sure. Is there a way to check? 

If you have a driver’s license from Minnesota, you may already be registered to vote. To find out if you are already registered to vote, you can go to:

https://mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/VoterStatusResult.aspx

Do I have to affiliate with a party when I register?

Minnesota does not have political party registration. Voters are not asked to publicly declare affiliation with a political party.

Does my ID have to say my correct address?

You may register at your current address regardless of what address is on your driver’s license. BUT, you could be kept from voting if you do not bring a document with your current address to the polls, such as a utility bill, banks statement, or pay stub in addition to your valid ID.

Remember that your precinct could change if you move, so make sure you check out where to vote at: https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/

 

[1] https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/register-to-vote/registration-faqs/

What’s on the Election Day ballot in 2018?

All Minnesota voters will have these races on their ballot:

  • U.S. Senator
  • U.S. Senator (special election)
  • U.S. Representative
  • Governor & Lt. Governor
  • Secretary of State
  • State Auditor
  • Attorney General
  • State Representative
Voters may have one or more of these races on their ballot:

  • County Officers
  • City Officers
  • School Board Members
  • Township Officers
  • Hospital Board Members
  • Park Board District Members
  • Local ballot questions

 

To view the individual candidates for each position, visit https://candidates.sos.state.mn.us/.

Can I view a sample ballot before I vote?

Yes! The sample ballot shows a list of the candidates and ballot questions you’ll be voting on. Information is posted about 45 days before an election. However, a sample ballot is not available for all local elections. You may need to contact the local government (city, town or school district) holding the election. To find out visit: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/whats-on-my-ballot

Where do I vote?

To find out where you vote, visit: https://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/ and enter in your zip code or current Minnesota address. Voters must cast their ballots in the correct precinct. Sometimes there are multiple precincts in one polling place, so confirm your precinct ahead of time and get in the correct line!

When do I vote?

Election Day is November 6, 2018 and polling places are typically open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.[1] If you want to vote early or absentee, check out our other handouts about these topics!

Out of State Student Guide for Registering and Voting

Should I consider myself an out of state student, or a resident of Minnesota?

You should register to vote from the address you currently consider home. For many students, this is likely a school address or a parent’s house. If you still go back to visit but no longer consider it your home, then you should register to vote where you live at school.

If you moved to Minnesota from another state and currently consider Minnesota your home, you can vote here even if you pay out-of-state tuition or have a driver’s license from another state.

What if I do consider myself an out of state student?

Easy! If you do not consider your school address to be your home, you can register to vote in your home state. Check out your state’s registration laws at: https://www.nass.org/can-i-vote.

How can I vote if I cannot physically be in my home state on Election Day?

Though every state has absentee and/or early voting, rules vary by state. Check the rule(s) below for your home state.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Early Voting

In 37 states (including 3 that mail ballots to all voters) and the District of Columbia, any qualified voter may cast a ballot in person during a designated period prior to Election Day. No excuse or justification is required.

Early Voting AND No-Excuse Absentee Voting

Same as above, AND some states offer “no-excuse” absentee voting, allowing any registered voter to request an absentee ballot without requiring that the voter state a reason for his/her desire to vote absentee. The voter may return the ballot by mail or in person.

All-Mail Voting

Three states — Oregon, Washington and Colorado — conduct all elections by mail.  A ballot is automatically mailed to every registered voter in advance of Election Day, and traditional in-person voting precincts are not available.

No Early Voting: Excuse Required for Absentee

Students in these states will have to request an absentee ballot. Additionally, for these states voters are required to provide a valid excuse to vote absentee. Being a college student is a commonly accepted reason for casting an absentee ballot.

You can click here to see the interactive map.

You can also find specific information about your state’s absentee and/or early voter laws here.

 

    1. In state and federal elections, towns with less than 500 registered voters are not required to open until 10 a.m. but most choose to open at 7 a.m.

June 29: Absentee balloting begins for August primary
Minnesota lawmakers have changed several state laws over the last few election cycles that allow voters to cast their ballot up to 46 days ahead of Election Day. With the advent of no-excuse absentee balloting, Minnesotans can start mailing in ballots or turning in absentee ballots in person for the August primary starting June 29.

Aug. 14: Primary day
The primary election lands on Aug. 14 this year, with polls opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m. Get out and vote. The registration deadline is Tuesday, July 24, 2018. The results of the August primary will winnow the candidates to just the top vote getters in each party. This also marks a defining part of the election. Soon, voters will have a clear contrast between the politics and personalities of the final candidates.

Sept. 21: Absentee voting begins for general election
The no-excuse absentee voting opens up for the general election. Both parties will be working to get as many votes as they can cast ahead of Election Day.

Nov. 6: Election Day
Congrats, you’ve made it. Get out and vote.

Source: https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2018/01/minnesota-voters-2018-election-calendar

Will voting in Minnesota affect my federal financial aid?

Where you register to vote will not affect federal financial aid such as Pell Grants and Perkins or Stafford loans or your dependency status regarding FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Will I lose my scholarship if I register to vote in Minnesota?

Generally, no. If you receive scholarship money from a state, county, town, or a private entity (i.e., an entity other than the federal government) you should confirm that residency in a particular place is not a requirement of the scholarship and/or that voter registration in Minnesota will not affect your eligibility.

Will registering to vote in Minnesota affect my driver’s license or car registration?

After becoming a Minnesota resident you have sixty days to get a Minnesota driver’s license. For more information, you may wish to contact the Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety Division of Driver and Vehicle Services.

Will registering to vote in Minnesota prevent my parents from claiming me as a dependent on their taxes?

No. Students are often told that registering to vote in a different state from their parents will make them lose their dependency status. This is not true. Where you register to vote will have no effect on your parent’s tax status.

Does being an out-of-state student for tuition purposes affect my right to vote in my college community?

No. You may choose to vote in your college community or back home regardless of your tuition status.

If I live in a dorm, what is my address?

If you are unsure, check with the resident assistant (RA) in your dorm, or another staff member in the dorm. Some campuses assign individual addresses to students living in dorms, while others give everyone the same address that corresponds to the building.