Minnesota voters can vote early beginning Friday. Here’s how to cast a ballot.

Published 9:47 pm Thursday, June 27, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Clay Masters

Starting Friday, Minnesota voters can cast their ballots for Republican and Democratic primaries in numerous state and federal races.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to vote in the Aug. 13 primary. And, if past statistics are any guide, many will do so early.

Email newsletter signup

Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat and the top election official in Minnesota, said Thursday that his office’s goal is to make sure “Minnesotans continue to enjoy elections that are fair, accurate, honest and secure.”

What’s on the ballot?

Primary races for congressional and legislative seats are on the ballot across Minnesota.

The widest-reaching statewide primary is for the U.S. Senate. On the Republican side, voters will decide among eight candidates for the party nomination. Focus is mostly on two: former professional basketball player Royce White, who has the endorsement of the state Republican Party, and military veteran Joe Fraser, who has the backing of several prominent GOP figures.

Democratic incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar is heavily favored in her party primary against four challengers.

For Republicans, there are also hotly contested primaries in the 2nd Congressional District of the Twin Cities suburbs and for the 7th Congressional District in western Minnesota. The 2nd is likely to be one of the nation’s key House races in the fall as the GOP tries to defeat Democratic Rep. Angie Craig.

In the 7th District, Republican Rep. Michelle Fischbach is trying to hold off fellow Republican Steve Boyd, with the winner the favorite in November’s general election.

For Democrats, the 5th Congressional District primary is the most closely watched race. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is endorsed by the state DFL, is trying to fend off another challenge from former Minneapolis city councilman Don Samuels.

Find out what’s on your ballot by visiting the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.

How do I vote early?

Early voting begins 46 days before every election. There are three ways to vote early: by mail, early in-person or on Election Day (Aug. 13) at local polling places. Voters can access an absentee ballot at local elections offices or request one by mail.

When do I have to mail in my absentee ballot?

In Minnesota, ballots just have to be received ahead of 8 p.m. on Aug. 13. Minnesota is not a state that looks at when envelopes containing ballots are postmarked

“It’s not about postmarking,” Simon said. “The rule in Minnesota is: It’s got to get back either by mail or by hand delivery or by carrier pigeon or whatever means. It’s got to get back by 8 p.m. by the close of the polls.”

How do I track my absentee ballot?

Voters can track their ballots once they’ve put it in the mail to make sure it goes all the way through the process to their local elections office to be counted — much like consumers track their online shopping orders. Track absentee ballots by visiting here.

What if I change my mind?

A person can claw back a voted ballot until 19 days before the primary election. Ballot secrecy envelopes aren’t opened until close of business on that day so officials are able to fish out a ballot that a voter wants to spoil prior to then. A new vote can be cast absentee or in person. After July 25, there is no option to replace a submitted, accepted ballot.

What’s new this year?

Beginning this month, voters can start signing up to be mailed an absentee ballot for every election. It’s an option on the voter registration application as opposed to the absentee ballot application.

Eligible voters can now use online interactive tools in 11 languages to register to vote, check registration, request an absentee ballot and to track their absentee ballot. The tools are available in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, Lao, Oromo, Khmer and Amharic.