Mail ballots for presidential nomination primary election

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, February 4, 2020

By Scott Felten
Mower County Auditor/Treasurer

Mower County voters living in precincts utilizing mail balloting will be receiving in the mail very soon an envelope containing their ballot for voting in the March 3, 2020, Presidential Nomination Primary (PNP).

Mail ballot voters can complete their ballot and then mail it to or drop it off at the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s office on or before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3.

Scott Felten, Mower County Auditor-Treasurer

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Mower County communities utilizing mail ballots are Elkton, Mapleview, Rose Creek, Sargeant and Taopi. Townships utilizing mail ballots are Clayton, Grand Meadow, Lansing, Marshall, Nevada, Pleasant Valley, Sargeant, Udolpho, Waltham and Windom.

Lansing and Udolpho Townships are using mail balloting for the first time in 2020. Five of Mower County’s 14 communities and 10 of the county’s 20 townships have now switched to mail balloting.

Voters in these precincts will not vote at their traditional polling locations. The only place they can vote in person is at the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s office. If voters choose that option, they should bring along the entire ballot packet that they received in the mail.

Ballots are mailed only to registered voters in each of the above precincts, based on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office database. Reasons why an individual may not be registered could be because they have recently moved into the precinct and have not updated their voter registration information, or they have not voted in a statewide election during the past four years. 

Individuals in mail ballot precincts may register to vote online at the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website or in person at the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s office. A ballot will then be forwarded to them. Anyone who registers after Feb. 11 will not be able to receive a mail ballot, but they can still vote by casting an absentee ballot for the PNP any time before 5 p.m. on Monday, March 2, at the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s office.

Unlike other elections, there is a separate ballot for each major political party participating in the PNP. Therefore, a voter will receive two ballots in the mail, one for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and one for the Republican Party. The voter completes the one ballot for the party of their choice and mails it to or drops it off at the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s office. The remaining unvoted ballot should be destroyed by the voter.

Voters should closely follow the instructions that are included with the mail ballot so that the ballot is complete and proper, otherwise it must be rejected. The voter will be notified if this occurs and they can request another ballot.

There is a difference between mail ballot voting and absentee voting. When a person chooses to vote absentee for the PNP, they must first complete an Absentee Ballot Application and indicate on the application which political party’s ballot they want. Only that party’s ballot will be mailed or given to the absentee voter to complete.

Voters who have questions on the PNP, mail balloting process, or absentee voting process can contact the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s office at 507-437-9535, email or stop at the office during regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Mower County Government Center located at 201 First St.NE, Austin. 

The Auditor-Treasurer’s office will be open on Saturday, Feb. 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for absentee voting and for receiving mail ballots. The government center will be closed on Monday, Feb. 17, for the Presidents’ Day holiday. 

Additional election information can also be found on Mower County’s website, and selecting the Auditor-Treasurer’s webpage under the Directory.