Early voting in Minnesota is easy

Written by Colleen Steppa, Career Specialist and early voter

Why do we want you to vote in this upcoming election? Encouraging full participation in our election process has long been a part of our public policy efforts at Goodwill-Easter Seals. Early voting and absentee ballots make the process easier, and many cities (including Minneapolis) and counties have created in-person vote centers with extended hours.

Minnesota now has an early voting option. I heard about early voting a few months ago and looked up directions online: it couldn’t be easier.

Colleen Steppa at the “I Voted” selfie booth after participating in early voting.

I found some helpful websites (MN Votes and polling place information) and was able to print out a sample ballot so I could study the candidates beforehand. Technically, “early voting” is just absentee voting without needing to be physically absent. This year Minnesota has passed new legislation so we don’t need a specific reason to vote absentee. Anyone can now do it if they want to avoid the hassle of election day voting.

My local polling place was absolute chaos earlier this year for the primary elections, and I hate lines, so I was excited to get this done early. I walked into the early voting center on 1860 E. 28th Street in Minneapolis (only a mile from where I live and with plenty of parking space). The only people there were several staff and two other voters. I filled out an application for an absentee ballot, which was a standard form that asked for my SSN or driver’s license ID number to identify me, and some other basic information like birthdate and current address. If you’re pre-registered you don’t actually need to bring any documentation with you to vote, unless you don’t have your social security number and address memorized.

Here’s some important info to note:

  1. Even non-registered voters can register at the early voting center if they have the correct ID.
  2. The voter centers are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the weeks before the election.
  3. The downtown early voting center, located on 217 S 3rd Street, is available for early voters who live anywhere in Hennepin County, not just in the city of Minneapolis.

The whole process of early voting took me about 10 minutes. They even have a selfie wall where they took my picture at the end!

Get out there and vote! Watch this video on early voting for more information.