As absentee voting begins today for the Nov. 4 General Election, the City Council has voted to increase the number of hours that voters can cast absentee ballots in-person for the Nov. 4 election. Council members approved a proposal this morning championed by Council Member Jacob Frey to add additional weekday and weekend hours in the two weeks leading up to Election Day with the goal of increasing the opportunities for voter participation in elections.
“I want Minneapolis to have the highest voting rate of any city in the country,” said Council Member Frey, chair of the Elections and Rules committee. “Towards that end, we are significantly expanding hours of operation for no-excuse absentee voting. In other words, nobody has an excuse – you better vote!”
“Passage of no-excuse absentee voting in Minnesota was a huge step forward to making sure eligible voters have increased access to the polls,” said Kandace Montgomery, a community organizer from Take Action Minnesota. “By increasing the number of hours and days available to vote in person, the City of Minneapolis will greatly help increase voter participation, especially ensuring voters of color and low-income voters have a say in our democracy.”
Today marks the start of absentee voting, and this is the first year voters are not required to provide a specific reason for voting absentee. That means all voters now have the option to vote absentee either by mail or in person prior to Election Day.
Voters can request ballots online. Applications are also available on the City's website and may be printed out and sent in anytime leading up to Election Day to have a ballot mailed out. All completed mail ballots must be received by the Elections & Voter Services Division by Election Day. Voters who wish to cast their absentee ballots in-person can do that at City Hall, 350 5th Street South. The regular hours are Monday - Friday, from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
The City Council’s vote today extends these hours in the two weeks leading up to the Nov. 4 election. The new extended hours are:
The City worked with a number of community-based organizations on this as part of an effort to increase ballot access. Those groups include Take Action Minnesota, Isaiah, NOC, Neighborhood Hub, Protect Minnesota, CAPI, Harrison Neighborhood Association, Minnesota AIDS Project, Somali Action Alliance, NARAL, Pro-Choice Resources, YWCA Minneapolis, Hmong American Partnership, Ujamaa, CLUES, OutFront Minnesota, Fair Vote Minnesota, the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, Waite House, El Colegio Charter School, Navigate, Minneapolis Highrise Coalition, Hope Community Inc. and Lao Assistance Center Minnesota.
Elections & Voter Services staff has developed staffing and resource plans to manage these additional hours available to voters, as well as the overall expected uptick in absentee voting this year and presented those plans to the Elections & Rules Committee meeting on Wed. Sept. 17 to inform the Council's action.
Elections & Voter Services
City Hall, 350 S. 5th St., Room 201
Minneapolis, MN 55415