Vote by Mail

Our recommendation for you: stay at home and vote by mail

To minimize direct contact with others, the CDC encourages you to vote by mail. All Minnesota voters are eligible to vote by mail. It’s easy to vote by mail, just as long as you plan ahead a bit.  

Due to a recent court action (in late June), some of the requirements for voting by mail have changed. These affect witness requirements and the deadline for returning your ballot. Currently, these changes ONLY apply to the August 11 State Primary. The changes are reflected throughout all information below.  

Apply to get a ballot in the mail

We recommend applying for a mail ballot no later than 10 days before an election. 

Apply online

The online ballot application for the November general election is available now. We will begin mailing out ballots on September 18.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply for a ballot no later than 10 days before Election Day. This gives you the best chance to get your ballot in the mail and still have time to mail it back or drop-it off.  

You can apply after this date, but each day increases the chances you will not be able to receive and return your ballot by the deadline. 

Apply by mail, fax or email.

Fill out this application for a ballot and return it by mail, in-person, fax or email.

Mail or in-person: Minneapolis Elections & Voter Services, 980 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 612-673-2756

Options for returning your mail ballot

All voters will receive a postage paid envelope to use to return their mail ballot. As Election Day gets closer, we offer additional options for returning your mail ballot.

Return your ballot by USPS (postal service)

Use the postage-paid envelope to return your ballot. We recommend mailing your completed ballot back at least 7 days before Election Day to ensure your vote counts. 

For the August 11 State Primary, your ballot will count as long as it is postmarked on or before Election Day (August 11) and is received in the mail no later than two days after Election Day (by August 13). This is a change from previous election law requiring mail ballots to be received by Election Day. 

Return your ballot by package delivery service (UPS, FedEx, etc.)

For the August 11 State Primary, your ballot will only count as long as it arrives at our office no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day (August 11). 

Return your ballot in person

If you would rather drop your mail ballot off in person, you may bring it to our office at 980 E. Hennepin Avenue during regular business hours, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Minneapolis voters may also drop mail ballots off at Hennepin County Elections at the downtown Hennepin County Government Center skyway level (300 S. 6th Street). The Hennepin County hours may differ from ours.

Important items to remember when returning your ballot:

  • All ballots dropped off in person must be received by 3 p.m. on Election Day to count.
  • Ballots cannot be dropped off at polling places on Election Day. 
  • If you are returning a ballot for someone other than yourself, please be prepared to show identification (with name and signature) and complete brief paperwork.

Track your ballot

You can track the status of your ballot and confirm that it was received and counted.

Have someone else pick up a ballot for you

In some narrow circumstances, you can choose someone to pick up and return a ballot for you

Common questions about voting by mail

How it works

It’s my first time voting by mail. What should I know?

Plan ahead!

It’s not hard to vote by mail, but don’t leave it to the last minute. Apply for your ballot now. After you vote, send back your ballot right away so that it will count.

You need a witness.

You need a witness* when you complete your ballot. The witness can be either a registered Minnesota voter or a notary from any state.

*For the August 11 State Primary ONLY: If you are registered to vote at your current address, you will not need a witness. If you have moved, changed names or need to register for the first time, you will need a witness to sign your envelope.

Fill out all paperwork, including any voter registration application.

If we send you a voter registration application, complete and return it with your ballot even if you think you are already registered.

Return your ballot as soon as you can.

Mail everything back as soon as possible using the postage-paid envelope. Anything we get after Election Day can’t be counted, regardless of the postmark date*.

*For the August 11 State Primary ONLY: Your ballot will count as long as it is postmarked on or before Election Day (August 11) and is received in the mail no later than two days after Election Day (August 13).

Confirm your ballot was counted.

Confirm your ballot was received and counted online.

Who can witness my ballot?

The witness can be either a registered Minnesota voter or a notary from any state.

For the August 11 State Primary: If you are registered to vote at your current address, you will not need a witness. If you have moved, changed names or need to register for the first time, you will need a witness to sign your envelope. 

  • How do I know if I am registered at my current address? In addition to checking your registration online, your mail ballot will come with a pink insert that says if you are registered at your current address (and so don’t need a witness), or need to update or register for the first time (and so will need a witness). The instructions included with your ballot will be yellow if you do not need a witness and green if you do need a witness. Both instruction sheets will clearly state any necessary steps.
  • I think I’m registered at my current address, but my materials say I need to re-register. What should I do? If you believe you are registered at your current address but you get materials saying you need to update your registration, please fill out the registration materials and return them. Sometimes there is a timing issue between your registration application and your application for a mail ballot, and other times there may be a question about your address that must be verified by having you re-register. For any questions, please call 311.

For the November 3 General Election: You will need a witness when you vote and complete your ballot. The witness can be either a registered Minnesota voter or a notary. Your witness must sign the signature envelope and list their address. Notaries should write their name and title, sign the signature envelope, and affix their notary stamp.

Does my ballot have to be returned by Election Day or just postmarked by then?

Plan ahead. To be safe, we recommend you return your ballot in the mail no later than seven days before Election Day. You can also drop off your ballot in-person (see information above).

For the August 11 State Primary: Your ballot will count as long as it is postmarked on or before Election Day (August 11) and is received in the mail no later than two days after Election Day (by August 13). This is a change from previous election law requiring mail ballots to be received by Election Day. Please note that if you deliver your ballot in-person to our office, it still must be returned by 3 p.m. on Election Day.

For the November 3 General Election: We must get your ballot back by Election Day. For your ballot to count, we must physically have it in hand on Election Day. Your ballot will not count if we get it after Election Day, even if it was postmarked on or before Election Day.

Do I need to pay for postage when I mail back my ballot?

No, you don't need to pay for postage. The envelope to return your ballot in is postage-paid.

Can I drop off my ballot at my polling place on Election Day?

No, you cannot. Minnesota law does not allow you to return your mail ballot to your polling place. If you are worried or are certain that we will not receive your mail ballot on Election Day, you have the option of voting at your polling place. When you check-in the poll worker can see if we have already counted your mail ballot or not. If we have not, you will be given a new ballot to vote with. If we later do receive your mail ballot it will not be counted.  


Will my vote count?

I heard mail ballots only count in close races. Is that true?

No! By law, we count every properly returned ballot we receive by the stated deadline, period. It is a common misconception that mail (absentee) ballots are only counted during very tight races. 

Can I check to see that my mail ballot was counted?

Yes. You can confirm we have received and counted your ballot using the online tracking tool.

What laws are in place to make voting by mail secure?

Each and every ballot we receive must be inspected closely by two election officials for the following:

  • The voter’s name and address on the envelope matches the application.
  • The voter has not already voted in the election in person or by mail.
  • The voter has signed on the back of the envelope.
  • The voter has provided the same identification number on the signature envelope as on the application. Otherwise, the signature must be matched to the signature on the application form.
  • The voter is registered and eligible to vote in the precinct or has included a properly completed registration application with proof of residence marked on the signature envelope.
  • A witness has signed the statement on the signature envelope and has provided a Minnesota residential address or has affixed a notary stamp.

Your ballot application and signature envelopes are kept on file for 22 months in case any questions or concerns arise that need to be investigated.

What happens after I return my ballot?

We must check that you and your witness filled out the signature envelope correctly. If you did not fill out the signature envelope correctly, we will mail you replacement materials, including an explanation for why your signature envelope was rejected. Or, if there are fewer than five days before Election Day, we will try to contact you. In this case, you may need to vote early in-person (time permitting) or at your polling place on Election Day.


I need a new ballot...

I made a mistake on my ballot and need a replacement

Contact our office and ask for a replacement ballot. We will cancel your original ballot. If it there is not enough time to get a new ballot, completely cross out the name of the candidate you accidentally marked. Then mark the candidate you prefer. Do not initial your corrections.

My ballot is lost or damaged

Contact us to get a replacement ballot. We will cancel your original ballot.

Do not return your original ballot, even if you eventually find or receive it. Only return your replacement ballot.

I returned my ballot but want to change my vote

You can ask to cancel your ballot until the close of business two weeks before Election Day. After that time, you cannot cancel your ballot. 

Contact us to cancel your ballot. Depending on how much time is left, your options are to have a new ballot mailed, vote early in-person, or vote at your polling place on Election Day.


I'm in a special circumstance...

I’m in the hospital or a nursing home. How can I get a ballot?

Special absentee balloting procedures are available to voters in hospital or Minneapolis health-care facilities. Call Minneapolis 311 or 612-673-3000, for additional information. TTY/TTD 612-673-2157

How can I vote if I'm living abroad or serving in the military?

Military and voters living abroad can use a special process to vote absentee.

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Minneapolis 311
Can Help

Contact Minneapolis 311 Monday–Friday 7 a.m.–7 p.m. for election and other city information. From outside city limits, dial 612-673-3000.