Absentee voting changesThe 20,000 or so Minnesotans voting via absentee ballots may seem insignificant, but given the results of the 2008 U.S. Senate race, which ended little more than a year ago after an extended battle over absentee ballots, they take on new importance this year.
By: By Don Davis, State Capitol Bureau, Alexandria Echo Press
ST. PAUL — The 20,000 or so Minnesotans voting via absentee ballots may seem insignificant, but given the results of the 2008 U.S. Senate race, which ended little more than a year ago after an extended battle over absentee ballots, they take on new importance this year.
The August 10 primary election is expected to have relatively few voters, so in a tight race, like expected in the three-way Democratic governor contest, absentee votes could, again, become vital.
Absentee voters need to pay more attention this year because procedures have changed a bit. A court ruling after the 2008 Coleman-Franken Senate race and law changes have made the application look different.
“It is very important to carefully read the instructions and follow the instructions completely so all ballots can be counted,” Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said.
One court-required change is that the voter must fill out everything on the absentee ballot, application and accompanying envelope. In the past, election workers sometimes did some of that.
Overall, the absentee voting process has been simplified.
State law allows Minnesotans to vote absentee by mail or in person if they will be out of their precincts on election day, if they are sick, if they are an election judge in another precinct or if their religious discipline does not allow them to vote that day.
County auditors’ offices accept absentee votes during regular business hours on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 7, and until 5 p.m. the day before the election.
Auditors’ offices can help people vote absentee by mail.