On October 29, the U.S. 8th Circuit Appeals Court reversed the consent decree of the Ramsey County Court which established the extension (postmarked by 11/3; received by 11/10) for returning an absentee ballot by mail.
In short: Ballots must now be returned to the county elections office by Tuesday, November 3. Prior to the ruling ballots would be accepted after Election Day as long as they were postmarked by November 3 – that is no longer the case.
It is incredibly important that everyone hear of this change and know their options if they have mailed back their absentee ballot or are planning to do so. Below is information from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, please share widely!
- ALL ballots must be returned to the county elections office by Tuesday, November 3.
- Deadline to drop it off in person is 3 p.m.; deadline for mail or delivery service is 8 p.m.
- Ballots arriving after November 3 — regardless of the postmark — will not be counted.
- If a voter has mailed back their absentee ballot they can confirm the status of the ballot by using the Secretary of State’s tracker: mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/AbsenteeBallotStatus.aspx or by contacting the county or city elections office to ask for the status of their absentee ballot: www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/find-county-election-office/
- If their ballot has not been accepted, they can vote in person, either voting early in person at the county Elections Office or an early voting site the voter is eligible to use.
or voting on November 3 at the voter’s polling place: pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/
NOTE: The system will not allow a voter to vote twice. When voting early in person, the site will confirm the voter is eligible to vote early (has not turned in a ballot already), and at the polling place, the roster will reflect if the voter has had an absentee ballot accepted already. For absentee ballots received on Election Day, the county will contact the polling place to confirm that the voter has not voted in person, accept the absentee ballot, and instruct the roster judge to mark an 'AB' next to the voter’s name (or update the E-Poll Book).
- If a voter has their absentee ballot, which was mailed to them or had been previously picked up, ADVISE THEY DO NOT MAIL THE ABSENTEE BALLOT BACK. There is no way to guarantee that the mailed absentee ballot will arrive by 11/3. Assuming that the voter is eligible to use the location, any absentee ballot may be returned at a drop box, early voting location, or county Elections Office. Again, make sure the voter is eligible to use that location. County Elections Offices are open for drop-offs for all residents of the county.
- Minnesota law allows a person to drop off up to three ballots for others during an election (not per trip or per day) in person, but not using a drop box (unless the drop box has someone there to track users). The person dropping off ballots will need to show identification and identify whose ballots they are turning in.
This is an abrupt and consequential change. Please do what you can to ensure your communities have this new information so that all votes can be counted.