Good Question: How Many Minnesotans Vote Absentee?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You will be able to cast your vote for president starting Friday.

Absentee ballots in Minnesota will be available either by mail or in person.

So, how many Minnesotans vote absentee? And how are those votes counted?

Nine percent of Minnesotans voted absentee in 2012. It was 10 percent in 2014. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon expects the percentages to be higher this election.

“First, because it’s a presidential election and turnout as a whole is up,” Simon said. “But second, we have some features in state law that I think are going to be really attractive to a lot of people that weren’t there at the last election.”

This is the first presidential election where Minnesota will not need an excuse to vote early.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Absentee votes are counted at the county level, and sometimes at the city level. Election officials in Minnesota are counting until right before the polls close on Election Day.

“They are absolutely counted 100 percent of the time when they meet the requirements,” Simon said.

People apply for the ballots online or via mail. That ballot is sent to a voter, who then sends it back. By state law, election officials can begin counting the absentee ballots one week before Election Day. That is because voters can change their votes up to that point.

“We send to our absentee ballot board, they start opening those envelopes, removing the ballots from the envelopes, flattening them and getting them ready to go,” said Ginny Gelms, Hennepin County’s election manager.

The ballots in Hennepin County are fed through a high-speed ballot machine that can read up to 300 per minute. People can also visit their county election office to vote in person in the week leading up to the election.

For more information on how to vote absentee or early, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.

More from Heather Brown

One Comment

  1. Dan Mack says:

    Great idea. Vote early, and vote often this election. No-ID required.

  2. dan w says:

    This is another great way to expand the opportunities to vote and to expand the electorate itself, both good things for democracy. Minnesota now just needs to add automatic registration and we’ll really be doing it right!

    It’s really too bad so many here and across the country would chose to make it harder for people to vote, but then I think they probably aren’t that interested in an actual representative government. At least not one that might represent everyone…

    And, the guy using the name Dan Mack is not who he claims to be. He is a troll that stole someone else’s name. Considering the comments he makes here, I’m sure he wouldn’t want to use his actual name. That’s really pretty sad.

    1. leftofright says:

      yes Dan W, because accountability and integrity in one of the most sacred institutions in this country do not matter? So far I have heard no one wants to stop legitimate people from voting, but the concept of busloads of people showing up in one precinct and then the next with one person vouching for all of them, that needs to be put to rest. The only way to do it is an ID. That way there is no way to lie or cheat. Why do you oppose integrity and accountability? Why do you attack other people and their beliefs. How about we stick to the facts and try to make acceptable to all? Let’s talk about the young man up in Duluth during the last election caught with 300+ ballots in his trunk. Let’s talk about all the dead people that vote. An ID would end all of those issues and add integrity and accountability and allow us to focus on bigger issues of social justice, our veterans, truly trying to make healthcare affordable, and the safety of US Citizens.

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