Thanks to a law passed in 2014, Minnesotans have the opportunity to begin voting by mail or in person 46 days ahead of an Election Day. For the Aug. 14 primary, that day is June 29.
The law was authored by then state representative and current Secretary of State Steve Simon. He was inspired to put “no excuse absentee balloting” into place by his father, who had a medical condition that left in question if he would be able to get out to vote on Election Day. Simon was concerned not only for his father, but other Minnesotans who might have a difficult time getting to the polls to vote because of transportation or family issues.
No excuse needed
Prior to the law a person could vote early, but needed to provide an excuse as to why he or she could not vote on Election Day. With the new system, no excuse is needed. People no longer have to worry about wheels, work or weather when it comes to casting their ballot to make their voice heard.
Under no excuse absentee balloting, people have the option to vote by mail or in person. Instructions on how to vote by mail can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at mnvotes.org. People can also vote at their county courthouses during regular business hours.
Voting is also available the weekend before the election, as well as the Monday before Election Day. For the primary that is Monday, Aug. 13. Many cities also offer the opportunity to vote in person.
A long tradition of engagement
Minnesota has a long tradition of civic engagement and high voter turnout. With many statewide and local races on the primary ballot this year, many are expecting the highest primary voting numbers in years.
If you will be on vacation, have family obligations or just are not sure where you will be and if you can vote in person Tuesday, Aug. 14, please take advantage of this chance to make your voice heard. No excuse absentee balloting will give you a voice during this important election year where so much is at stake.
Ken Martin is chairman of the DFL Party.