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Are You Ready to Cast Your Ballot?

By the Young Women’s Cabinet

Voting for the first time can be intimidating. It’s such an important right and there is a lot of pressure to get it right, especially because, as voters, we hold the power of our democracy in our hands. It is important not only to participate by casting a ballot in elections, but also to be an informed voter. The Young Women’s Cabinet hopes to advance your knowledge and provide answers to those mundane and sometime silly questions we all might have as a first-time voter.

As a collective, we have identified an array of common and not-so-common questions facing new voters and answered them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Your Research

Can I register to vote before the age of 18, if my 18th birthday passes before election day?

Yes! Learn more.

If I recently moved out-of-state as a student or for work, where should I go to vote?

Vote wherever you consider home. You can vote in Minnesota even with an out-of-state license if you consider Minnesota your home and have lived in MN for at least 20 days before the election. If moving from one place to another within Minnesota, you can vote wherever you consider home. There’s no timeline for how long you have to live in the new area. Learn more here.

Will employers allow time off for voting?

Yes. Minnesota employees have the right to miss work in order to vote without penalty. Learn more.

What are the deadlines (i.e., registration, absentee ballot, voting, etc.)?

While we are past the deadline for online registration. In Minnesota, you can register at the polls on the day of the election (November 8).

Absentee ballots can be requested at any time, but you have to allow enough time for your ballot to be sent to you and returned by 8 p.m. on November 8th (by mail) or 3 pm on November 8 (in person).

Polls generally close at 8 p.m. on election day, but for precise closing times, check for your specific voting location.

To learn more about voting deadlines visit https://howto.vote/register/en/mn.html

How do I apply for the absentee ballot?

  • Apply for a ballot online
  • Print a PDF ballot and submit to your local county office
  • Use the paper ballot if you do not have one of the following: last 4 # of SSN, MN driver’s license, or MN ID card, as well as an email address. Allow enough time for the ballot to be mailed to you

Do you need a witness signature for absentee/mail-in ballots?

Yes, a registered Minnesota voter or a notary.

How do you know who’s going to be on your ballot?

Visit the Office of the Secretary of State’s My Ballot page and enter your current address to learn more about candidates on your ballot.

How do you find out what issues/policies will be on your ballot?

Visit the Office of the Secretary of State’s My Ballot page and enter your zip code and address into this ballot finder to learn more about issues, policies, and candidates in your local election ballot.

How do I research my voting poll location?

Use the Poll Finder link this link: to can find your voting location by just entering your zip code and address. It will then provide you with the location of your next election and the date.

How do I find voting information in my language?

Federal law also requires over 330 jurisdictions to provide some type of language assistance. If you need any language assistance while voting in Minneapolis, please talk to an election judge or contact 311. Here are the available languages available: Somali, Hmong, Vietnamese, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Lao, Oromo, Khmer, Amharic. Learn more.

Be Prepared

What forms should I bring to vote in-person? Or register to vote in-person?

If your voter registration is current and active you don’t need to bring anything including ID. If you’re voting for the first time in Minnesota, you will have to show your ID to vote as well as if you registered by mail and your ID number could not be verified by the state, or if you are registering to vote on Election Day. Learn more here.

Should I create a voting plan? If so, why?

You can come up with a plan to vote or you can also go in and vote. Creating a plan to vote before voting can help you make sure you have everything you need and prevent any surprises or last-minute obstacles. View the state election guide resources.

What accommodations are available when voting?

Poll places must be accessible for elderly and disabled voters under federal law. This includes being wheelchair accessible, having handrails, access to disability priority parking, and voting machines to assist blind/visually impaired voters. If a polling place doesn’t meet these guidelines, report to the city/township. You may also bring another person to help you vote as long as they are not from your union or employer, request assistance from election judges, use a ballot marking machine (may noy be not available at every location), vote by mail, or vote curbside where someone will bring a ballot to you.

The Process

How long does it take to cast your ballot?

However long it takes the voter to fill out the ballot. Voters are not limited to a certain amount of time.

Who should I contact if I suspect voter suppression?

There are several options to pursue if voter suppression is detected.

  • Contact your county attorney’s office (Find your county)
  • Fill out a complaint form
  • Contact your state or territorial election office – Metro Area: 651-215-1440 | Greater MN: 1-877-600-VOTE (8683) | MN Relay Service: 711
  • Contact the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice – Online Form
  • Use the Election Complaint Report – Online Form
  • Contact the local FBI Office – 1501 Freeway Boulevard Brooklyn Center, MN 55430 | 763-569-8000. The local office includes Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
  • Contact local U.S. Attorney’s Office – Minneapolis Main Phone: 612-664-5600 | Minneapolis Fax: 612-664-5787 | St. Paul Main Phone: 651-848-1950

What is the role of the election judge?

Election judges staff local polling places, administer election procedures, and ensure that the rights of voters are protected on Election Day

Can you use your phone to research candidates or issues while in voting booth?

The are no laws that strictly prohibits the use of phone while voting but for more precision, you can consult your election judge.

What if the polls close while I am in line?

As long as you are in line before they close, you have the right to cast your ballot.

So, what now?

This is the hard part… waiting! Millions of votes are being cast and it take time to count them. Official results for Minnesota races will appear on the Secretary of State’s website.

About the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota

The Young Women’s Initiative is a public-private partnership between the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the Governor’s Office that centers the leadership and solutions of young women of color including American Indian young women, young women from Greater Minnesota, LGBTQ+ youth, and young women with disabilities to create a Minnesota where every young woman thrives. This initiative is the first-of-its-kind in the nation aimed at improving equity and opportunity for young women.

The Young Women’s Cabinet is composed of 25 young women and youth leaders (ages 16-24) from eight identified communities: African American, African Immigrant, American Indian, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Latina, LGBTQ+, Disabilities, and Greater Minnesota. The Young Women’s Cabinet, supported by the YWCA St. Paul is charged with ensuring the work of the Young Women’s Initiative is grounded in the lived experiences of young women and youth from each community.

When we say young women, we are talking about anyone who identifies as a woman. We are also inclusive of cisgender, transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender non-binary youth ages 16-24.

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