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

Ballot or application? How to tell the difference between different election mail

Some voters are worried that they've gotten multiple ballots in the mail. Here's what's actually happening.

ST PAUL, Minn. — You've probably seen all kinds of social media posts about mail-in ballots. That includes a frequent concern this month: that people are receiving multiple mail-in ballots in the mail. 

But according to election officials, that's not true. Instead, people may be receiving applications for absentee ballots. Here's how to tell what you're getting -- and what to do with it.

What did I receive in the mail? 

As the election gets closer, organizations both in and out of Minnesota are sending out letters with absentee ballot applications. You may see these from the nonprofit "Center For Voter Information" or other third-party organizations. For more on these mailings, click here. The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State said the best way to apply for your absentee ballot is through their online form. 

Plus, you may have received a letter from the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State itself. Risikat Adesaogun, deputy communications director with the Secretary of State's office, said the department sent out letters including absentee ballot application forms to everyone who hadn't already requested one -- some 2.3 million people. 

Even if you receive an absentee ballot application form, you don't have to use it; you can vote in person instead.  

Finally, people who've already requested mail-in ballots are getting them now. 

Click through the gallery below to see the difference between a mail-in ballot application and a sample ballot. 

You can look up a sample ballot for your location here

Could I actually receive multiple mail-in ballots in Minnesota? 

Adesaogun said the department hasn't gotten any reports of people receiving multiple absentee ballots. 

Plus, there are many safeguards in place to prevent ballot theft and double voting. You can read about those on our website here.

If you've already applied for an absentee or mail ballot, you can track it here.  

What if I got a mail-in ballot that I didn't request? 

Adesaogun said most Minnesota voters will have to request ballots if they want to vote remotely. 

However, there are some special cases in smaller Minnesota communities with less than 400 registered voters, which can choose to hold their elections only by mail

That means voters in those areas won't have to go through the typical ballot request process and will automatically receive a ballot in the mail. In 2020, that covers around 200,000 registered Minnesota voters.

Watch the video below to see how Minnesota processes absentee ballots.