MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Early voting in Minnesota started this week. We’re hearing from lots of voters who’ve been mailed unsolicited ballot applications.

They include personal information like the voter’s name, address, and sometimes how often they have voted. How legit are these applications and what should you do if you get one? WCCO’s Kate Raddatz investigated.

A WCCO viewer sent us two unsolicited absentee ballot applications that he was sent. They were mailed to him from the Voter Participation Center.

Marlys Libengood also got something similar in the mail.

“I got two again today,” Libengood said.

She threw it away and is voting early in person at the Carver County Government Center.

“I’m 81 and it’s my privilege to come and vote in person,” Libengood added.

While applications like this aren’t directly from the Secretary of State’s office, they are legitimate.

“By legitimate I mean it does accomplish what it says it will,” Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said. “If you fill out their form to the place they tell you to send it, it will result in a person getting an absentee ballot.”

Some viewers have reported getting applications addressed to people who no longer live in their homes.

Simon says some of those other groups do not always have up-to-date voter information, but the state does.

“The good news is even if they send us something from someone who is no longer there, or even someone no longer with us, we have security features in place so that no one can get by voting an absentee ballot they shouldn’t,” Simon explained.

If you’re unsure about the validity of any election materials you are sent in the mail, here’s some good advice.

“If the address they’re asking you to mail this thing they sent you is not a government office, if it’s not your county, it’s not your city,” Simon said.

And if you have already requested a ballot, there’s no need to fill out another application.

“There’s a lot of false information out there so just making sure your vote is heard and you’re filling out the right application is important,” Claire Drapeau said.

Voters are able to track the status of their absentee ballot. To learn more click here.

Kate Raddatz

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