Absentee voting

If you are unable to get to your polling place location on Election Day, you may be able to vote by absentee.

Who can absentee vote?

You may vote by absentee if you are unable to vote at your precinct on election day because:

  • You are absent from your precinct
  • You have an illness or disability
  • You are serving as an election judge in another precinct
  • You are prevented because of a religious discipline or religious holiday or observance
  • You are prevented by an eligible emergency declared by the governor or quarantine declared by the state or federal government
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Vote by mail

Submit your completed absentee ballot application (PDF) in person, by mail, email or fax to one of the following.

When will I receive my mailed ballot?

  • If you apply more than 46 days before the election, your ballot will be mailed to you at least 46 days prior to the election.
  • If you apply within 46 days of the election, your ballot will be mailed to you within a day or two of your application being received.

How do I return my voted absentee ballot?

Voted ballots must be received on or before election day. Return your voted ballot by mail or in person.

Return by mail

Mail your ballot back in the pre-paid, pre-addressed envelope that was provided with your ballot materials.

  • Ballot must be received on or before election day.
  • If you don't think your ballot will be received in time using regular mail, you may choose to pay for an express delivery service.

Return in person

  • Return your own ballot in person to Hennepin County elections or your city clerk's office.
    • By 5 p.m. on the day before the election.
  • Someone else may return your voted ballot to Hennepin County elections or your city clerk's office.
    • By 3 p.m. on election day.
    • Persons delivering ballots may not do so for more than three voters.

Vote in person

In many cases you may vote at your city clerk's office.

  • Starting 46 days prior to the election
  • During regular business hours
  • Contact your local clerk for the correct absentee voting location for your city or school district.

Absentee voting is also available at the Hennepin County Elections Office.

  • In even numbered years only
  • Starting 46 days prior to the election
  • During regular business hours
  • The Saturday before an election from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • The Monday before an election until 5 p.m.

Vote by agent

Voters may authorize an agent to pick up and return an absentee ballot for them. This service is available only within the seven days preceding an election.

Each agent is allowed to deliver and return ballots for a maximum of three voters.

Who can absentee vote by agent?

  • Patients in hospitals, residential treatment centers, and nursing homes
  • Residents of group homes
  • Residents of battered women's shelters
  • Residents of assisted living facilities
  • Voters who are disabled
  • Voters who would have difficulty getting to the polls because of incapacitating health reasons

How do I absentee vote by agent?

  1. Choose an agent who
    • You have a preexisting relationship with
    • Is at least 18 years old
    • Is not a candidate in the election
  2. Complete both the
  3. Have your agent bring the completed forms to your city clerk's office (or in even numbered years to Hennepin County elections) to pick up your ballot. 
    • Until 2 p.m. on election day
  4. Your agent will be given your ballot to bring to you.
  5. Vote your ballot.
  6. Have your agent return your voted ballot to the office they picked it up at.
    • Your agent must show an ID with name and signature.
    • Voted ballots must be returned by 3 p.m. on election day at the latest.

Military and overseas voters

Military voters, their dependents, and other U.S. citizens who are overseas may be eligible to vote absentee under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).

Who is eligible to be a UOCAVA voter?

  • Members of the uniformed services or merchant marine - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, or the commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and will be absent from your precinct on Election Day due to your service.
  • Spouses and dependents of a member of the uniformed services or merchant marine.
  • Temporarily overseas - If you are a citizen who would be qualified to vote at your polling location in Minnesota if you were not overseas.
  • Indefinitely overseas - If you are a citizen who currently has no plans to return to Minnesota, but you maintained residence in Minnesota for at least 20 days immediately prior to your departure from the United States. Voters who are indefinitely overseas are permitted to vote only for the offices of president, vice president, senator in Congress, and representative in Congress.

How to apply for an absentee ballot

Online

To complete the online absentee ballot application to vote absentee while in the military or overseas, you must:

  • be eligible to complete the Federal Postcard Application (PDF)
  • provide an email address
  • provide your identification number from either your Minnesota driver's license, your Minnesota ID card or the last four (4) digits of your social security number

If you can't provide an email address and one of the identification numbers listed above, you cannot apply online and must submit a paper application.

By mail, email, FAX or in person

You need to complete and submit an Federal Postcard Application (PDF). Your spouse, parent, sibling or child older than 18, may complete and submit the form for you. 

Use one of the following methods to complete the form:

How to submit your voted ballot

Regardless of how you received the ballot, you must return your voted ballot by mail to the election official the ballot was received from.

Frequently asked questions

Q: When can a military or overseas voter apply?

A: You may submit an Federal Postcard Application (PDF) any time during the year. However, you should submit it as far ahead of the election as possible to avoid delays in receiving your ballot.

Q: Can a military or overseas voter receive a ballot electronically?

A: Yes. You can receive the ballot by mail, fax or email. You will need to indicate on your application how you would like to receive the ballot.

Q: Can a military or overseas voter return a voted ballot electronically?

A: No. Regardless of how you received the ballot, you must return your voted ballot by mail to the election official the ballot was received from.

Q: When should a military or overseas voter expect to get a ballot?

A: Ballots are sent out by election officials at least 45 days prior to the election. For those voters whose applications were received fewer than 45 days before the election, ballots are sent as quickly as possible.

Ballots sent by mail are airmailed to addresses outside the continental U.S. Your ballot will be sent to you by an express mail service if you provide a prepaid envelope to the county auditor’s office. Note: Your voted ballot must arrive back at the county no later than Election Day to be counted.

Q: What if a military or overseas voter doesn’t receive a ballot?

A: If you submit timely absentee ballot applications but never receive your ballot or you are concerned that you will not be able to return your ballot in time to be counted, you may submit the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) (PDF) as an alternative.

A FWAB allows you to write in choices for all offices. For federal offices you may indicate your choice by writing in a candidate name or political party. When voting for state or local offices on the FWAB, you must write the name of the candidate (not just the party) for your vote to be counted.

Q: How long is a military or overseas voter application valid?

A: An application is valid for the entire year in which the application is received, expiring on December 31 of the year of receipt. You may specify a different end date in box 6 of the application (e.g., "General election only"). A ballot will be sent automatically for all elections during that time in which you are eligible to vote. You must reapply each year in which you need a ballot or if your overseas mailing address changes.

Q: Can a military or overseas voter self-certify a ballot?

A: As a UOCAVA voter, Minnesota allows you to self-certify your FPCA, your ballot return envelope, and the FWAB. You can do this by using the same passport number, Minnesota driver's license or state ID number, or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on all forms throughout the process. If you do not have access to any of these documents, you may attest to the truthfulness of the information under penalty of perjury. For assistance, overseas citizens should contact the U.S. embassy or consulate, and military personnel should contact their Voting Assistance Officer (VAO).

Frequently asked questions

Q: Can I have an absentee application sent to me automatically for every election?

A: If you are an eligible voter and you reasonably believe you will be unable to go to your polling place on an ongoing basis for one of the reasons allowed, you may request to receive an application for an absentee ballot before each election.

Q: Can I still vote for president in Minnesota if I recently moved to a new state?

A: If you are an eligible voter who moved from Minnesota to another state within 30 days of a presidential election and you are not eligible to vote in your new state, then you should review the Presidential Absentee Ballot Application and instructions on the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

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