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.
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.