Absentee voting by mail? Make sure your ballot counts

If you are voting by mail, it is essential to follow all directions included with your ballot to make sure your ballot counts. Errors can mean your ballot cannot be counted. The most common mistakes that cause an absentee ballot by mail to be rejected and not counted include mistakes with the following requirements:

  • Place the completed ballot in the tan ballot envelope and put the tan ballot envelope into the white signature envelope.
    • If you are not pre-registered, put both the tan ballot envelope with your ballot sealed inside and the completed voter registration application inside the white signature envelope.
  • Sign the white signature envelope and fill out the signature envelope completely, including filling out your ID number on the envelope.
    • ID numbers can include Minnesota driver's license number, Minnesota ID card number, or the last four digits of your social security number; You MUST put the same ID number on the envelope as you put on your absentee ballot application.
  • A witness must sign the envelope.
  • The witness must be either a registered voter in Minnesota or a notary.
    • The witness must also fill out their Minnesota address.
  • Make sure your ballot is received at City Hall by Election Day.
You can use the absentee ballot look up tool to find out the status of your absentee or mail ballot, including confirming when it was mailed out to you, when it was received by the Elections & Voter Services division, and when it is processed and either accepted or rejected. If your ballot is rejected, a new ballot will be sent out to you, but must still be received by Election Day in order to be counted.


It's important to keep in mind the timelines surrounding casting an absentee ballot by mail. Voters can continue to submit a request for an absentee ballot by mail right up through the election, but need to remember that in order for their ballot to be counted, it must be received by the Elections & Voter Services Division by Election Day.

Requesting an absentee ballot online is the fastest way to get a ballot mailed out to you. You still need to allow enough time for the ballot to reach you via mail and then to get that ballot returned.
If you are mailing in your ballot via the United States Postal Service, it must be received at City Hall by the last regular mail delivery on Election Day. Absentee ballots can be brought to City Hall prior to Election Day, but on Election Day can only be hand-delivered by an agent of the voter (a commercial delivery service or any individual other than the voter - see Agent Delivery information) by 3 pm.

If you are concerned about whether there is enough time to cast your absentee ballot by mail, you may choose instead to vote absentee in-person at City Hall. We will be open extended hours for the rest of this week and next week, Mon. - Fri. from 7 am until 6 pm; on Saturday, Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 from 9 am until 4 pm; Sunday, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 from 12 until 5 pm; and Monday, Nov. 3, from 7 am until 5 pm. 

On Election Day Nov, 4, if you haven't yet returned your absentee ballot, you may go to the polls to vote, but you cannot deliver your own absentee ballots to election officials. Polling places will be open from 7 am until 8 pm. Do not bring your absentee ballot to your polling place. You will be given a ballot at the polling place if you choose to vote on Election Day instead of casting your absentee ballot. Remember, if you have already returned your absentee ballot, you cannot vote in your polling place on Election Day. Your ballot will have already been processed and counted.

Elections & Voter Services
City Hall, 350 S. 5th St., Room 201
Minneapolis, MN 55415