Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit announced its decision to eliminate Minnesota's established seven-day grace period for accepting absentee ballots for next week’s general election.
“The court's decision is a tremendous and unnecessary disruption to Minnesota's election, just days before Election Day,” said Secretary of State Steve Simon. “This last-minute change could disenfranchise Minnesotans who were relying on settled rules for the 2020 election — rules that were in place before the August 11 primary and were accepted by all political parties. It is deeply troubling that the people who brought the lawsuit, a conservative legislator and presidential elector, would seek to sabotage the system for political gain.
Hours extended for 13 staffed ballot drop-off spots in Minneapolis
There are 13 staffed, mail ballot drop-off locations for Minneapolis voters and, in light of this new court ruling, the City has expanded the ballot drop-off hours. Voters who have mail ballots at home are encouraged to complete and return them to one of these locations. Although voters may choose to discard their mail ballots and vote early in person instead, mail ballot drop-off sites provide an outdoor option to promote safety during the pandemic and reduce lines at Early Vote Centers.
Voters dropping off ballots from other voters can bring no more than three completed ballots (not counting their own ballots). They will need to show identification with name and signature and complete simple paperwork.
On Election Day, mail ballots can only be dropped off at one of the 13 drop-off locations until 3 p.m. and cannot be dropped off at regular polling places.
Minneapolis drop-off locations now have extended hours through 3 p.m. on Nov. 3:
- Friday, Oct. 30, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 31, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Monday, Nov. 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 3, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
“I won’t let any Minnesota voter be silenced. My mission is now to make sure all voters know that a federal court has suddenly changed the rules, and that their ballot needs to be received by Election Day,” said Simon.
Voters should no longer place their absentee ballot in the mail. Instead, voters have several options to ensure their vote is counted in the November general election:
- Voters who have already put their ballot in the mail can track their ballot at http://www.mnvotes.org/track. If their ballot has not yet been received the voter can vote in-person either by absentee, or at their polling place on Election Day.
- Voters can deliver their ballots to their county election office by hand (or have someone they trust hand-deliver it for them).
- Voters can cast their vote in person with an absentee ballot at their local election office up until November 2, 2020.
- Voters can cast their votes in person on Election Day. Use this Pollfinder Tool to find out where to vote.
“The right to vote is fundamental. The court’s decision is a step in the direction of restricting the exercise of that right, during a pandemic that has altered everything about our daily lives. But Minnesotans always find a way to vote, and they’ll do so again this year. The spirit that has fueled Minnesota's nation-leading voter turnout will continue,” said Simon.