Registering is the first step to voting. Voter registration can be done anytime, including at the same time as voting.
Registering before an election can save time when voting, and also helps make sure there are no issues to prevent you from casting a ballot when you are ready to vote.
You are eligible to register and vote in Minnesota if you:
- are a United States citizen.
- will be at least 18 years old on Election Day.
- will have lived in Minnesota for 20 days immediately before Election Day.
- live at the address given on your registration form.
- are not under court-ordered guardianship in which the court order revokes your right to vote.
- have not been found by a court to be legally incompetent to vote.
- have any felony conviction record discharged, expired, or you have completed your sentence.*
*Potential voters with a question on the status of a prior felony conviction should contact their probation office to gain clarification and resolve any status questions before completing a voter registration application on line or on paper.
Giving false information on a voter registration application is a felony punishable by not more than five years' imprisonment or a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
What to know about being eligible to vote if...
- You are a college student
- You are in the military or live overseas
- You have been convicted of a crime
- You are under guardianship or have an impairment
- You do not have a permanent address
If you've never registered, or if you've moved or it's been more than four years since you last voted, you can get registered now.
Online registration is fast and easy. You need either your Minnesota Driver's License or ID card number, or the last four digits of your social security number in order to complete your registration online.
Other Registration Options
You can also register by completing and submitting a paper voter registration application. Registration forms are available in multiple languages, as well as in large print and via other accessible options.
Preregistration closes 20 days before each election. If you haven't preregistered, you can also register when you vote, either at your polling place on Election Day or when voting early. You need to provide an accepted proof of residence when registering when you vote.
FAQs About Preregistering to Vote
How and when do I register to vote?
All voters are encouraged to preregister to vote prior to Election Day.
- The preregistration deadline for the March 3 Presidential Nomination Primary is Tuesday, February 11.
- The preregistration deadline for the August 11 State and Local Primary is Tuesday, July 21.
- The preregistration deadline for the November 3 General Election is Tuesday, October 13..
You can register online or by completing and submitting a paper application.
What address should I use on my registration form?
You must be registered to vote at your current address. It is up to you as the voter to determine what you consider your residence to be, as the address you consider home. Generally this will be where you sleep at night. If you are temporarily away from home but intend to return, you can still register and vote from the address you consider to be your home and where you intend to return.
What if I don't have a permanent address?
Register and vote based on where you consider your home to be at the time you vote. Your current residence is generally where you sleep at night, so if you do not have a permanent address and you are sleeping at a friend’s house, a shelter, or outside, that is your voting residence. If you sleep outside or someplace without a street address, write a description of the location on line four of the voter registration application.
What if I don't receive mail where I live?
If you currently are staying at an address or location where you cannot receive mail, but that is your voting residence, you still need to put that address or location on your voter registration application to be properly registered. If you do not receive mail at your voting residence, your voter record may be marked ‘challenged’ because the county could not confirm your address through a postal verification. You will still be able to vote. When you go to vote, you will be asked to swear an oath or affirm that you are living at your voting residence.
Why should I preregister if I can just register when I go to vote?
Preregistering will save you time when you go to vote. You will be able to skip the additional line and wait to register before getting your ballot. If your voter registration is current and active, you do not need to bring identification or proof of address with you when voting.
How do I register if I'm worried about my personal safety and need to keep my address private?
Your name and address are public information when you register to vote. There are some options to keep this information private.
If you have very high safety needs, you can enroll in the Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program through the Office of Secretary of State. Program participants have a post office box assigned to use in place of your address, with all mail forwarded by the program, including absentee ballots for voting. Names and addresses of participants are not shared with county election offices and are not public.
You can also submit a Request to Withhold Voter Information from Public Information form to your county election office. Your name and address will still appear on the list of voters at the polling place on Election Day, but will not be available to members of the public.
Registering when you vote
Preregistration closes 20 days before each election. If you haven't preregistered, you can register when you vote, either at your polling place on Election Day or when voting early. You need to provide an accepted proof of residence when registering when you vote. This guide provides a visual representation of what is needed to register when you vote.
Same Day Registration FAQs
What if I'm ready to vote but I'm not registered?
You can still register when you vote. You will need to bring proof of identity and residence with you to the polls.
What do I need to bring with me to the polls to register when I vote?
You need proof of identity and residence as outlined in state law in order to register when you vote. The most common option used by voters is a Minnesota Driver’s License or ID card with your current address. If you do not have one of these, you must supply one of the other accepted proofs required by law.
How can I register if I don't have an ID with my current address?
If your Driver’s License or ID does not have your current address, you can still register if you can provide one of the other accepted proofs. One option is to visit an Olmsted County License Bureau to update your license or ID. Your yellow receipt for your new license or ID with your current address is an accepted proof for registration. You can also provide a current bill or statement, dated or due within 30 days of the date of the election, with your current name and address along with your old ID or another approved photo ID.
Other options to use as the required proof:
- Have another registered voter you know in your precinct confirm your address, also known as ‘vouching’.
- Use your college student ID if you live on campus and your school has provided a student housing list to the elections office.
- If you have a valid registration already in your current precinct, and just need to update your name or address within the same precinct, you can provide your prior name or address to verify your registration.
- Bring your Notice of Late Registration if you submitted a voter registration application after the preregistration deadline, but in time to receive this notice from Olmsted County.
- If you live in a residential facility, a staff member can go with you when you vote to confirm your address after providing proof of their employment at the facility.