Election Day is almost here! Time has been flying by in Elections & Voter Services as we are busily preparing to provide all Minneapolis citizens the best voting experience possible, both before and on Nov. 4. An important part of our work in the months, weeks, and days leading up to any election day is absentee voting. This has taken on an even more significance with the recent change to state law that allows for “No Excuse” absentee voting for every voter.
Since Sept. 19, City Hall has been open for absentee voting. Beginning on Mon. Oct. 20 (and up through 5 pm on Nov. 3) every day has now become “Election Day” in City Hall. Absentee voters have had – and will have – expanded access to vote by absentee, by mail or in-person here in City Hall. Absentee voters can also take advantage of expanded absentee voting service hours.
The City has extended service hours for in-person absentee voting for the two weeks prior to the general election:
These extended service hours for absentee voters resulted from concerted efforts by many individuals and organizations to encourage full access and participation for all Minneapolis voters, especially those who traditionally don’t participate or have a difficult time making it to a polling place on Election Day. A group of voter education, community-based and religious organizations banded together to encourage the City Council to expand the availability of on-site absentee voting, especially pushing for Sunday hours. The Council acted on Sept. 17 to do so.
This past Sunday, Oct. 26, these same organizations brought their constituents together to hold Minneapolis’ own version of Souls to the Polls - an energetic election rally and march to City Hall where Minneapolis residents were able to cast their vote. Voters who do not reside in Minneapolis could turn in their absentee ballot applications for processing by Hennepin County on Monday.
The Souls to the Polls rally was a successful event. This new initiative coordinated by several non-profit, non-partisan organizations was met with additional preparations by Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services to ensure increased staffing levels were on hand at City Hall ready to serve voters. Voters participating received an accommodating and warm voter-friendly welcome from our election judges. The organizers and many participating voters noted they plan to share their positive voting experiences and will continue to promote and encourage their fellow citizens to participate by voting in-person absentee voting here at city hall now through Nov. 3 or at the polls on Nov. 4.
Several media outlets were on hand Sunday to cover this historic opportunity for Minneapolis voters, and provided coverage of events, including:
As of the end of the day Sunday, 792 Minneapolis residents have come to City Hall to cast an in-person absentee ballot. Elections & Voter Services has also mailed out 12,384 absentee ballots to Minneapolitans, and 3,750 of those ballots have been returned to date. An additional 453 absentee votes have been cast by residents of health care facilities in the city, for a total of 4,995 completed absentee ballots in Minneapolis at this point.
Residents have until Nov. 3 to vote by absentee ballot in person at City Hall. Extended hours continue every day this week and over the weekend before absentee balloting closes next Monday. Mail ballots must be received by Election Day.
Elections & Voter Services
City Hall, 350 S. 5th St., Room 201
Minneapolis, MN 55415