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Early absentee voting for presidential primary begins January 17
The Minnesota Presidential Nomination Primary is being held on March 3, 2020, which is “Super Tuesday,” the day when the largest number of states and territories around the country will be holding either primaries or caucuses. Early absentee voting for this primary begins January 17, 2020, both by mail and in person.
Legislation was passed in 2016 which established a presidential nomination primary for Minnesota starting in 2020. This means instead of using the caucus system to identify preferred presidential candidates for the state’s participating major parties, Minnesota will now hold a primary election event. The event is administered by election officials on behalf of the parties to select each party’s preferred candidate for the November General Election. Each party is responsible for deciding which candidates will appear on their primary ballot.
Minnesota voters are reminded that severe winter weather on March 3, the Presidential Nomination Primary date, could be a very real possibility. Anyone with concerns about severe weather on March 3 is encouraged to vote during the early absentee voting period of January 17 through March 2, 2020.
In person early absentee voting
From January 17 through March 2, early absentee voting will be offered Monday through Friday at the 4H Building at Graham Park at 1508 Aune Drive SE in Rochester from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This location will be closed on January 20 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and on February 17 for President’s Day.
Beginning in late February 2020, two more locations will open for the direct balloting period of early absentee voting – the Olmsted County Government Center and 125 Live. More information about these voting locations will be shared in February.
Early absentee voting by mail
If you’d like to complete early absentee voting by mail, request a mail ballot now by applying online via the Secretary of State’s Office website or contacting Olmsted County Elections at 507-328-7650. Ballots will be mailed starting January 17.
Selecting your political party affiliation
Because the primary is a party process that is being administered by election administrators on behalf of the participating parties, all voters in the presidential nomination primary, including early absentee voters, will need to request the ballot for their political party of choice. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party and the Republican Party are the two major parties in Minnesota that have elected to use the presidential nomination primary to help select their candidates for president this year. As a voter, which party you choose will not be public information, though it will be available to the chairs of each major party in the state. Voters must select one of the participating parties or they will be unable to vote in the presidential primary.
Sample ballots are an excellent resource for preparing to vote. Voters can download their sample ballot via the Secretary of State’s Office website. A list of all candidates appearing on the ballot for presidential nomination primary can be found, as well as a full example of the ballots that will be in a voter’s assigned precinct based on their home address.
Election judges still needed
Election judge training began January 6 and will continue through late February for election judges helping in polling locations on March 3. More judges are still needed, especially in the City of Rochester as well as some neighboring communities, and there is still time to sign up. Election judges are paid for their service, including attending required trainings. Anyone interested in serving, including students ages 16 and 17, is encouraged to sign up now by visiting the City of Rochester’s website to work in Rochester, or the Olmsted County website to serve in another jurisdiction in Olmsted County.
For the latest election updates and further details about voting in Olmsted County and the City of Rochester, Minnesota, including links to online tools, visit the following sites: