By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Early voting in Minnesota started on September 18 and that’s brought in many Good Questions.

1.) If you applied for an absentee ballot, can you still vote in person?

Yes, if a voter didn’t return the ballot, they can go to the polls or early voting locations and vote.

“We will ‘spoil’ their mailed ballot and issue them a ballot to vote in person instead,” said Ginny Gelms, Hennepin County Elections Director.

2.) What happens if a voter only fills in the ballot for one or two races, but leaves some blank?

All the votes that are filled in will be counted.

“Whatever you send to us, we count,” said Jeff Narabrook, Election Administrator for the City of Minneapolis.

3.)  If a person votes early, what happens to the ballot if a candidate dies?

In 2002, voters were given a supplemental ballot after the death of Senator Paul Wellstone. Since then, state election law has changed.

According to Bibi Black, an attorney with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office, if a candidate in a partisan election (with the exception of President) were to die before Election Day, that race would not get counted. Instead, there would be a special election for that seat in February.

But, if a Presidential candidate died before Election Day, the picture is more complicated. That’s partly because each state’s law handles this scenario differently and voters are voting for Electors rather than the candidate themselves.

In Minnesota, state law does not allow for substitutions on the ballot. Even if the political parties were to choose a new candidate, the state ballot wouldn’t change and those votes would be counted.

“I’m sure there would be lawsuits filed,” said Black.

At this point, that law is unsettled, making it hard to predict what might happen.

4.)  When are absentee ballots counted?

Right not, absentee ballots that have been cast are in secured locations. According to state law, two weeks before Election Day is when election worker can begin processing those votes and feed them into machines. But, it isn’t until Election Night that anyone knows the results.

“We don’t turn the key to get the tally until Election night,” said Andy Lokken, Dakota County Elections Director.

For more information on Minnesota’s 2020 election, please check out our voter resources below:

Voter Resources

Heather Brown

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