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How to Vote Early by Mail - Paper Application Transcript

[Opening with the State of Minnesota seal in the background. ASL narrator Sarah Houge appears, with the following words visible on the screen, “How to Vote Early by Mail – Paper Application. Produced by the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans. Sarah begins to sign, the CC begins and the voiceover begins.]

[Visual of a woman filling out paperwork.]

There are two ways to vote early in Minnesota.

[An image of the official absentee balloting material envelope briefly appears onscreen.]

You can have a ballot mailed to you.  Fill it out and send it back so that it arrives at your election office by Election Day for it to be counted.

[Background: The outside of an Election Center.]

Or you can go to your local elections office and vote there in person.  In person voting is available beginning six weeks before Election Day. A staff member will give you a ballot when you get there.

[Background: Close up of an official absentee balloting material envelope.]

This video focuses on receiving a ballot in the mail and applying for it using a paper form (not using the online tool to apply). 

[Words briefly appear onscreen: Ballot used for early voting is called “an absentee ballot”]

A ballot used for early voting in Minnesota is called “an absentee ballot” because under the old rules you had to be away from home in order to use it.  Now the rules have changed and anyone can vote early if they want to.

[Background: Minnesota Absentee Ballot Application]

There are several ways to get a paper Absentee Ballot Application.

[Background: Minnesota Votes website]

You can go online and download and print a copy from the Minnesota Votes website.

[Background: The City of Saint Paul City Hall and Courthouse]

Or you can pick up an application at your county courthouse or city offices.

[Background: The Seal of the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State]

You also can contact the Office of the Secretary of State and ask to have an application sent to you.

[Words briefly show onscreen: A large print version of the application is available.]

There’s also a large print version.

[Words briefly show onscreen: Military or overseas uses a different process.]

If you are in the military or are overseas, there is a different process to vote and you need to use a different form.

[Words briefly show onscreen: Check on the status of your absentee ballot online.]

If you already applied for an absentee ballot, but haven’t received it yet, you can check on its status online.

Here’s how to apply using the paper form.

[Background: Minnesota Absentee Ballot Application]

Minnesota’s Absentee Ballot Application is just one page.

On line 1, it asks you to choose which elections you want the absentee ballot for. For example the primary in August or just the General Election in November or both.  Check the box that applies to you.  

On line 2, enter your full name

On line 3, enter your date of birth. This is required. It also asks for the county where you live, your phone number, and your email address.  You can decide if you want to share that information. 

On line 4, you need to provide certain ID numbers.  Your ID numbers will kept confidential.  If you don’t provide an ID number, you will not be able to look up the status of your ballot online and your ballot might not be counted.

Check the boxes that apply for your ID numbers. Provide both a driver’s license number and the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number to ensure the fastest processing and help ensure that there are no problems with your ballot.  

If you have a Minnesota driver’s license number or a Minnesota state ID card number, mark the 1st box and write it in the space provided.

If you have a Social Security Number, mark the 2nd box and write the last four digits in the space provided.  

If you do not have a Minnesota driver’s license or a Minnesota state ID card or a Social Security Number, mark the 3rd box.

On line 5, put your home address -- the address where you live in Minnesota (not a PO Box).

On line 6, put the mailing address where you want the ballot sent.  It can be: 

1. your home address (write it down again)

2. a PO Box; or 

3. if you’ll be out of town, you can put an address in a different town or state. 

On line 7, there’s an oath that you have to sign. It says:

[The text of the oath is shown onscreen, rolling upwards.]

I certify that I: 

• am completing this application on my own behalf;

• will be at least 18 years old on Election Day;

• am a citizen of the United States;

• will have resided in Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding Election Day;

• maintain residence at the address given on the registration form;

• am not under court-ordered guardianship in which the court order revokes my right to vote;

• have not been found by a court to be legally incompetent to vote;

• have the right to vote because, if I have been convicted of a felony, my felony sentence has expired (been completed) or I have been discharged from my sentence; and

• have read and understand this statement, that giving false information is a felony punishable by not more than 5 years imprisonment or a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.

If every statement applies to you, sign your name next to the X and enter the date that you completed the form.

[Text appears briefly on the screen: Return your form by mail, fax or e-mail.]

You can return your form by mail or fax or by scanning it in and attaching it to an email.  

[Background: Minnesota Votes website.]

You can find your county election official’s contact information on the Minnesota Votes website. It should be easy to find. Select your county from the list.  There you’ll find the mailing address.

If you don’t have Internet access or don’t know which county you live in, you can return your absentee ballot application to the Secretary of State’s Office at: 

[Address briefly appears onscreen.]

Minnesota Secretary of State

60 Empire Drive, Suite 100

Saint Paul, MN 55155

[Text briefly appears onscreen: Watch the video “Check absentee ballot status”]

A few days after you return your absentee ballot application, you’ll be able to check on its status online.  Watch another video to learn how.

[Text briefly appears onscreen: Watch the video “what to do once you’ve received an absentee ballot”]

You should receive your ballot within a few days. When it arrives, watch another video for instructions on what to do with everything that comes in the packet.

That’s it! Now, it’s up to you.

For more information, go to the Minnesota Votes website. 

[MNCDHH logo is shown. Video ends.]

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