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It begins: Here’s how you can vote early in Minnesota

By Cody Nelson

MPR.org/90.1 FM

The polls are open today in Minnesota — sort of.

Early or absentee voting begins Friday and lasts until 5 p.m. on Nov. 7 — the day before Election Day.

There’s a lot at stake this year. Each of the Minnesota Legislature’s 201 seats is up for grabs. And, of course, there’s that quiet little race for president of the United States. If you’d like to vote early — you don’t need to have a reason — here’s what you need to know:

Who’s eligible to vote early?

If you’re at least 17 and moved to Minnesota as recently as a week ago, you might still be eligible to vote early in the state.

Here’s exactly what’s required of early voters:

• You must be a U.S. citizen who will be 18 years old and have lived in Minnesota at least 20 days before Election Day.

• You must not have a court order deeming you ineligible to vote.

• If you’ve been convicted of a felony, the sentence must be completed or discharged.

How do I apply to vote before Election Day?

You’ll need to fill out an absentee ballot application. You can apply online or by mail.

It’s OK to apply in person, too. But filling out the application before voting can save time.

If you’re not already registered to vote, the state will send registration materials along with your absentee ballot. In-person early voters can register as they cast their ballots, too.

Where do I vote early?

You can mail in your absentee ballot and track its progress online.

Prefer voting in person? No problem.

Head over to your county election office to vote early. Some city and town offices offer in-person early voting, too. There’s a list on the Secretary of State’s website.