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New Online Tool for Voter Absentee Ballot Requests
June 27, 2014
Rice County voters can now request an absentee ballot online at www.mnvotes.org through a new tool launched by the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. The service allows voters to apply for an absentee ballot quickly and easily without the need to print, scan forms, and return by mail, fax or email. A similar tool for military and overseas voters was introduced in September 2013.
Voters may request an absentee ballot for both the August 12th Primary Election and November 4th General Election. Ballots for those elections will be mailed when they become available on June 27th and September 19th, respectively.
Upon requesting an absentee ballot, voters may use the “Absentee Ballot Lookup” tool at www.mnvotes.org to find the status of their ballot, such as when it was mailed, and if their completed ballot was received and accepted by the Rice County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office.
Voters may continue to request absentee ballots by mail, and vote absentee in person at the County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office, as well as at the City of Northfield Offices.
‘No Excuse’ Needed to Vote Absentee
Rice County Auditor/Treasurer Fran Windschitl expects an uptick in absentee balloting in 2014 as Rice County voters no longer need an excuse to vote absentee, such as being ill or out of their precinct on Election Day. As a result, more voters can vote early by absentee to avoid long lines and waits at the polling place.
Eligible voters may learn more about the absentee ballot process at the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website at www.mnvotes.org
How the “Request an Absentee Ballot” Tool Works
Voters requesting an absentee ballot online complete the online application at www.mnvotes.org. Their information is verified against data from the state’s Driver and Vehicle Services or Social Security Administration. Local election officials review the application, and if approved, send the voter their absentee ballot so they may vote early.
More Voter Tools at the Minnesota Secretary of State website (www.mnvotes.org)
The new “Request Absentee Ballot” tool joins a suite of online applications provided by the Office of the Secretary of State, including:
• Voter Registration Lookup – voters can check if they are registered to vote at their current address.
• Online Voter Registration.
• Polling Place Finder – voters can find where they vote.
• My Ballot – voters view their sample ballot (available on June 27 for the August 12 Primary Election) and can find links to candidates’ websites.
• Absentee Ballot Lookup – voters can find the status of their absentee ballot.
2014 Is a Significant Election Year
This election year, Rice County voters will head to the polls to decide a U.S. Senate seat, all of Minnesota’s eight U.S. House seats, as well as governor and other state officers, and all Minnesota State House seats. The 2014 election will also include 2 county commissioners, county sheriff, county attorney, auditor/ treasurer and recorder.
Key 2014 election dates:
• June 27th – Absentee ballots will be available for the August 12th Primary Election.
• July 22nd – Pre-registration deadline for Primary Election. Voters are encouraged to pre-register to vote to avoid long lines and waits at the polling place. Voters who miss this deadline may still register at their polling place on Primary Election Day, August 12th.
• August 12th – Primary Election Day
• September 19th – Absentee ballots will be available for the November 4th General Election
• October 14th – Pre-registration deadline for the General Election. Voters are encouraged to pre-register to vote to avoid long lines and waits at the polling place. Voters who miss this deadline may still register at their polling place on Election Day, November 4th.
• November 4th – General Election Day
Fran Windschitl, Rice County Auditor/Treasurer, (507) 332-6122
Tony Murphy, Rice County Administrator, (507) 332-6121