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Minneapolis St. Paul News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | Minneapolis, Minnesota | kare11.com

Millennials push for absentee voting ahead of Primary and November Elections

“The most powerful non-violent tool we have to change the world, is our vote. Not the only tool, but one of many in the tool box."

MINNEAPOLIS — Voters in Minnesota will get to decide who is on the November ballot Tuesday.
There have been a lot of questions about how in person voting will work because of the pandemic.

Many of the safety measures you're seeing in public places is what you can expect to see at polling sites.

Election officials say there will be plexiglass shields along with social distancing reminders.

Hand sanitizers will be available and voting booths will be wiped down after every use.

Voters will be asked to wear masks, and if you don't have one, disposable masks will be available.

For voters who can't enter the polling location – curbside voting and absentee options are available, but absentee ballots must be dropped off by 3 p.m. Tuesday at the city election office 

And, as President Trump steps up his attacks on mail-in voting, police and postal officials are investigating a mailbox theft in Minneapolis.

But two Minnesotans, both inspired by former Congressman John Lewis, said they hope the Presidents comments don't discourage people from voting.

Ron Harris believes absentee voting is a step people can take to help prevent the spread of COVID 19. He encourages people to vote absentee leading up to the presidential election.

“The ballot box may be the mailbox,” Harris said. “Every generation is going to have a fight like this, to make sure we don’t go back to what we came from.”

Harris and his friend, Sam Ndely, remember conversations their parents had with them about the Voting Rights Act signed into law 55 years ago this month.

It banned discriminatory voting practices against Blacks. But in recent years, lawmakers have closed polling places, purged voter rolls and implemented voter ID laws.

"If our vote and our voice didn’t matter, they wouldn’t spend so much money so much time and effort trying to take that away from us,” Harris said. “The most powerful non- violent tool we have to change the world is our vote. Not the only tool, but one of many in the tool box."

The men are members of Phi Beta Sigma – the same fraternity Congressman Lewis was a member of. Both said Lewis, who was willing to die for the Voting Rights Act, helped them find their voice.

“That is what brother Lewis fought for his entire life. And to be able to vote, he bled for that,” Ndely said.

Now, the two Millennials will do their part to help restore the Voting Rights Act. And they are already planning the conversations they will have with children of their own, years from today.

"I hope I am able to tell them the work we did to make sure they can vote and the work we did allowed them to have multiple options to go to a polling place,” Ndely said. “We have to find innovative ways to make sure people have the right to vote. I want to be part of that solution. Anybody that believes in the true American dream and democracy is should be fighting for this."