Additional times for absentee ballots voting coming up
The Nov. 3 general election is less than two weeks away and the Mower County Elections Office will be open additional days and hours to provide more opportunity for voters wanting to absentee vote in person or wanting to drop off their absentee or mail ballots.
These extended days and times are:
- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24
- Until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27 and Thursday, Oct. 29
- 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 31
- Until 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 2
Regular office hours at the Elections Office are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. The Elections Office can be reached by calling 507-437-9535 or 507-437-9456, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If a voter previously requested an absentee ballot be mailed to them, but now has decided they prefer to vote in person, please bring the ballot and the envelopes you received in the mail with you to the Elections Office as this will shorten the time it takes you to complete the absentee voting process.
The Mower County Elections Office is located in Austin City Hall on the second floor, not at the Auditor-Treasurer’s Office in the Mower County Government Center. The move for this year was made as more space was needed to address COVID-19 and to better accommodate the large volume of absentee voting that is occurring.
The Elections Office is located at 500 4th Ave. NE, in Austin, across from the new Community Recreation Center in the building where Austin Utilities used to have their offices. Do not go to the Mower County Government Center for absentee voting or for elections questions.
In-person absentee voting (early voting) is currently taking place and runs through Monday, Nov. 2 and is only available at the Elections Office in Austin City Hall.
A ballot drop box is located inside at the Elections Office and is available during the hours that the Elections Office is open. There is an election judge or elections official present at all times. There are no plans to have an outside drop box. This decision was made to ensure the security of the ballots.
It’s important to know that absentee voting is not allowed on Election Day, Nov. 3; voters must vote at their designated polling location that day. The location of polling places is available on the county’s website and was published in the Austin Daily Herald on Saturday, Oct. 17.
Absentee voting can also occur by requesting that a ballot be mailed to you. First you need to complete a Minnesota Absentee Ballot Application. This form is available by calling the Elections Office or completing the form online at mnvotes.org.
However, because Election Day is less than two weeks away, we are recommending people come to the Elections Office to complete their absentee ballot application and absentee vote, if at all possible, rather than request a ballot through the mail at this point.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, for 2020 only, state law allows absentee and mail ballots that are postmarked on or before Tuesday, Nov. 3 (Election Day) to be accepted and counted as long as the ballots are received in the Mower County Elections Office by Tuesday, Nov. 10. However, we encourage voters to return their ballot by Election Day, Nov. 3 if at all possible.
A voter can have someone else drop off their absentee ballot at the Elections Office until 3 p.m. on Nov. 3; this person is called an agent. However, a person (the agent) is limited to dropping off the ballot of up to three other voters. Anyone who drops off the ballot of someone else must complete a form so that we can document the limit per agent.
Due to COVID-19, school buildings are not allowed to be used for polling places. As a result, the City of Austin has consolidated its normal polling places into one in-person voting location on Election Day – the Austin Holiday Inn Conference Center located at 1701 4th Street NW in Austin. Please note, the only day for City of Austin voters to vote at the Holiday Inn Conference Center is on Election Day, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m..
Mail Balloting Precincts
Registered voters who live in mail ballot precincts (townships/cities) have been mailed their ballot. These voters can complete their ballot and mail it back or drop it off at the Elections Office.
If a mail ballot voter prefers to vote in-person, please bring the ballot and the envelopes you received in the mail with you to the Elections Office as this will shorten the time it takes you to complete the voting process.
Non-registered voters living in mail ballot precincts can vote by coming to the Elections Office.
Ballot Status and Sample Ballot
Voters can check on the status of their absentee or mail ballot to make sure it was received by going to mnvotes.org. There you can find a “track my ballot” link; just enter your name, date of birth, and ID number (either MN driver’s license number/State ID number, or last 4 digits of social security number).
Voters can look at a sample ballot by going to mnvotes.org. A combined sample ballot was also published in the Austin Daily Herald on Saturday, Oct. 17.