Guest Commentary: Special primary election voting reminders

Published 5:55 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022

By Scott Felten

Mower County Auditor/Treasurer

Tuesday, May 24, is the Special Primary Election for voters in U.S. Congressional District 1. A vacancy was created when Rep. Jim Hagedorn passed away in February. Twenty candidates are running to advance to the Special General Election on Aug. 9, when one candidate will be elected to serve the remaining term of this congressional seat. Here are some voting reminders.

City of Austin voters will vote at their regular polling locations in 2022. The Holiday Inn was used only in 2020 due to COVID-19 reasons. Voters in Austin Township, Lansing Township, and Frankford Township will vote at their township halls in 2022. These townships used mail balloting in 2020 due to COVID-19. Voters in Sargeant Township will return to in-person voting in 2022 after being mail ballot in 2018 and 2020. Lodi Township voters will vote at City Hall in Adams in 2022 as their township hall in Taopi was damaged in the April tornado.

The Mower County Elections Office is back in the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office in the Mower County Government Center as Austin City Hall was only used in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Absentee voting is available through Monday, May 23, at the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s office located in the Mower County Government Center at 201 1st Street NE in Austin. Please enter the building through the public entrance on the northwest side of the building (near the law enforcement center). There is a public parking lot available at this entrance.

Absentee voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Friday, May 20; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 21; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 23. On Election Day, voters must vote at their designated polling location.

Before being able to absentee vote, a voter must first complete a Minnesota Absentee Ballot Application. This can be done by coming to the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office at 201 1st Street NE, Austin. Once the absentee ballot application is completed, an absentee ballot can be issued to the voter and the ballot can be voted on site.

Mail Ballot Voting Reminders

Registered voters who live in mail ballot precincts were previously mailed a ballot for the special primary election. Because May 24 is fast approaching, mail ballot voters are encouraged to return their ballots in-person to the Auditor-Treasurer’s Office rather than by mail to ensure the ballot is received by Election Day. Completed mail ballots must be dropped off by 8 p.m. on Election Day, May 24.

Voters who live in mail ballot precincts are allowed to vote in-person at the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office on Election Day, Tuesday, May 24 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., if they prefer. They can also vote during the same dates and times that absentee voters can vote at the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office.

Voters can check on the status of their absentee or mail ballot to make sure it was received by going to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website page: https://mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/AbsenteeBallotStatus.aspx. Just enter your name, date of birth, and ID number (either Minesota driver’s license number/state ID number, or last four digits of social security number).

Register to Vote at Polling Place

A person can register to vote on Election Day by bringing one proof of residence with them to their polling location. Acceptable proof includes an ID with current name and address, such as a valid MN driver’s license. Acceptable proof can also include a photo ID and a document with your current name and address — the photo ID can be a U.S. passport or a high school/college ID; and the document can be a bill dated within 30 days of the election for phone, TV, garbage, or utilities, or a bank or credit card statement, or a rent or mortgage statement. Another form of acceptable proof is to bring a registered voter from your precinct with you to the polling location to sign an oath confirming your address. This is known as ‘vouching.’

For elections related questions, please call the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office at 507-437-9535, or email elections@co.mower.mn.us.