MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota's Primary Election is Tuesday, Aug. 11, and Minneapolis voters may now get a head start from the comfort of their cars and even their bicycles.
That's because Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services is offering a drive-through option outside their building at 980 E Hennepin Ave. This new service comes in response to the coronavirus pandemic and related concerns.
Voters may drop off their completed mail ballots during the following time frames:
- Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Monday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Tuesday before 3 p.m.
Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services is the only drive-through location. However, voters may also drop off ballots at the Hennepin County Government Center in the skyway level of the building located at 300 S. 6th St.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages voting early by mail. For the state primary, a voter’s ballot will count as long as it is postmarked on or before the day of the primary and is received in the mail no later than two days after the primary. This is a change from previous election law requiring mail ballots to be received by the day of the primary.
"The postal service usually takes anywhere from 5 to 6 days," MEVS director Grace Wachlarowicz said. "If a ballot is postmarked on or before Election Day, August 11, and we receive it in the mail by Thursday, August 13, we'll be able to accept it. If you're nervous like me, don't like to gamble, and want to make sure we receive it in time, that is why we're encouraging you to come in and drop it off."
The 2020 Minnesota Primary is already shattering records for early absentee voting. As of Friday, more than 375,000 absentee ballots had been received and accepted statewide. Hennepin County accounted for 135,000 of those, a reflection of the hotly-contested DFL Congressional primary and several contested legislative races.
The Minneapolis mail-in ballot total, as of Friday, was 48,907 which was three times as many as the entire total of in-person and absentee ballots cast in the 2018 primary in that city.
If you live outside of Minneapolis and are worried the mail won't get your ballot there in time, you have the option of walking into your local elections office and delivering your ballot in person. Or you can scrap that ballot and vote early in person in most areas of the state.
If you've already mailed your ballot you can check online to see where it is in the process. Just go to mnvotes.org and click on the Track the Status of Your Ballot link. You'll be asked to provide your unique voter information, and can see when the ballot arrived and whether it was accepted.
Minneapolis voters will cast ballots for the following primary races:
- U.S. Senator
- United States Representative (District 5)
- State Senator and State Representative (some districts)
- School Board Member At Large
- School Board Member (some districts)
Additionally, Ward 6 residents will be voting in a special election to fill a vacant City Council seat. This municipal race is conducted using Ranked Choice Voting, which means a primary election isn't necessary.
Find sample ballots for all 134 Minneapolis precincts here.