This is the first full week of no-excuse absentee voting for the Minnesota’s primary election, which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 11.

When multiple candidates of the same political party file to run for the same office, a primary election is needed to decide which candidate will appear as the party candidate for that office on the November ballot. For non-partisan races, such as county commissioner, primaries are needed to narrow the choices to two candidates for the November ballot in situations where there are three or more candidates running for a particular office.
While the ballot will contain candidates for both the DFL and Republican primaries, voters must only vote in one party’s primary. If you vote for candidates in both parties’ primaries, your ballot will be rejected.

Due to heightened concern regarding in-person voting due to COVID-19, the state is encouraging Minnesotans to use no-excuse absentee voting for both the primary and general elections.

Requesting an Absentee Ballot

In Minnesota, you can vote by mail using an absentee ballot without being “absent” from your home on Election Day. You don’t need a reason for requesting the ballot.

To apply for an application, go online to the Secretary of State’s website.

For this online application, you must

  • Be eligible to register and vote in Minnesota
  • Provide an email address
  • Provide your identification number: Minnesota-issued driver’s license, Minnesota ID card, or last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. It works best to have both the license or ID card AND the Social Security digits.

You can apply for a ballot any time during the year, except the day of the election. Leave time for election officials to mail your ballot. Your returned ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day (August 11, 2020 for the Primary Election) and received by your county by the day before the county canvass, which may take place on the second or third day following the election.

Voting Absentee

For your ballot to count, remember this important information:

  1. Read the instructions that come with your ballot carefully.
  2. Your signature envelope might have a box for a witness to complete and sign. Due to COVID19, there is no witness requirement for registered voters for the August 11, 2020 State Primary (under a current court order).a) Non-registered voters will still need a witness, to indicate their proof of residence.b) The witness can be either a registered Minnesota voter or a notary. Your witness must sign the signature envelope and list their address. Notaries should write their name and title, sign the signature envelope, and affix their notary stamp.
  3. Mail the ballot and forms back right away after you finish. Again, your returned ballot must be postmarked on or before the Primary Election Day (August 11, 2020) and received by your county by the day before the county canvass, which may take place on the second or third day following the election.

You can track the status of your ballot and confirm that it was received and counted

Benefits of Voting Absentee

Voting from home has a couple of benefits.

  • It’s more convenient and safe to vote from home
  • Voting from home reduces the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for poll workers and other voters who are present at the physical polling place on Election Day

If you have questions about the absentee voting process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Charles N. Nauen

Charles N. Nauen


David J. Zoll

David J. Zoll

Peter H. Glessing

Peter H. Glessing

Associate & Communications and Grassroots Advocacy