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How to Vote Early in Person 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 In Person. 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 writing on paper.]

There are two ways to vote early in Minnesota.

[Words briefly appear onscreen: You can have a ballot mailed to you.]

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.

[Visual of Election Center sign.]

Or you can go to your local elections office and vote there in person as early as 6 weeks before Election Day.  

This video focuses on going to your local elections office in person to vote during the last week before the election.  

[Visual of outside of Elections Office.]

[The following words briefly appear onscreen: Vote 1-7 days before Election Day.]

You’ll find that the process is simplest if you go 1-7 days before the election. During this last week the process is different and easier for voters, more like the voting process when you vote in person at your polling place on Election Day.  

[The following words briefly appear onscreen: Available between Tuesday before Election Day until day before Election Day until 5:00 PM]

This easier process is available from the Tuesday before Election Day until the day before the election at 5:00 pm, which is always a Monday.  

[Background: Image of the outside of a polling place with a wheelchair logo.]

First you need to figure out where to go to vote during this early voting period.  It’s different than the place that you normally go to vote on Election Day. 

[Visual of the outside of Ramsey County Government Center West.]

During early voting you can vote at your county election office. 

[Visual of the outside of the City of Saint Paul City Hall]

Some cities also offer early voting at the city office, but not all.  

[Background: The Minnesota Votes website. An arrow demonstrates the navigation to find cities and towns that have in-person absentee or early voting.]

You can find the address of the county election office and a list of the cities that offer early voting at their city hall on the Minnesota Votes website. Look for information on where to vote early or cities and counties that have early voting. It should be easy to find 

Once you’ve found where to go to vote, you may want to check their website or call to find out what hours they’re open.

[Visual of the outside of an Election Center.]

The first thing you will do when you get to your county or city elections office is to check in with staff there.  You will need to tell the staff your name, your home address and your date of birth.  

[The following words briefly appear: Provide your name, home address and date of birth.]

The staff will check to see if you are already registered to vote at your address.

[The following words briefly appear: If you are registered, sign your name.]

If you are, all that you will need to do is sign your name.  By signing, you are swearing (or affirming) an oath that you are eligible to vote in Minnesota.  The oath says, 

[The oath briefly appears a rolling text (upwards) onscreen.]

I certify that I: 

• 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.

[The following words appear onscreen: If every statement applies to you, sign your name.]

If every statement applies to you, sign your name.

If you aren’t able to sign your name, the staff can assist you.

[Background: Minnesota Voter Registration Application form]

If you have moved to another address or have changed your name since the last time that you voted, you will need to update your registration information by completing a new voter registration application. Be sure to bring proof of your residence.  You can watch the “Same Day Voter Registration” video for more information about this.

[The following words briefly appear on the screen: Watch the video “Same Day Voter Registration]

[Background: State General Election Ballot]

Once you’ve signed in, the staff will give you an official paper ballot. He or she also will tell you where to wait until it is your turn to vote.

[The following words briefly appear onscreen: Staff members can help you mark your ballot.]

The staff are there to help you mark your ballot if you need it. All you have to do is ask!

[The following words briefly appear onscreen: A person of your choice can help you read or mark the ballot.]

You can have a person of your choice help you communicate and/or read the ballot to you and/or help you mark the ballot if you need assistance. 

[The following words briefly appear onscreen: You cannot use an employer, union official or candidate to help you.]

The only people who aren’t allowed to help you are your employer, someone from your union (if you belong to one), or a candidate running for election.

[Visual of person helping voter.]

Just let the staff know that you have asked the person for help. This person is allowed to accompany you into the voting booth. They are not allowed to influence your vote.

[Visual of person voting.]

When it’s your turn to vote, the staff will direct you to an open voting booth that meets your needs.

[The following words briefly appear onscreen: Children can accompany you into the voting booth.]

Your children can accompany you into the voting booth. This is a good chance to show them that voting is important and how the process works.

[Background: State General Election Ballot]

Always read the instructions and fill in your ballot carefully so that your choices are clear.

Be sure to completely fill in the circle next to the name of the candidate you’re voting for. If the machine can’t read your choices, they may not be counted.

If you make a mistake, ask the staff for a new ballot. Remember to:

• Mark your ballot clearly, with no scribbles or notes and

• Vote for only candidate per race unless the ballot asks you to choose more than one.

[Visual of a blind man operating an AutoMark machine with a touch-screen monitor and a keypad to enter instructions]

Every place offering early voting has a machine that can mark your ballot for you electronically. It is especially helpful for voters who are blind or have a physical limitation that makes it difficult to mark their choices on a ballot. However, any voter can use the machine to mark a ballot. The staff will show you how to use it and answer any questions you have.

[Background: General Election Ballot]

You can’t change it afterwards, so be sure to review your choices one last time before you put your ballot into the counting machine. The equipment will reject your ballot if you made a mistake in filling it out (like voting for too many candidates).  That way you can fix them before you leave the early voting location. If the counting machine rejects your ballot, the staff will be standing by in case you need help.

Once your ballot has been put into the ballot counter, you’re all done! You’ve voted!

Your choices, along with the votes of millions of other Minnesotans, will elect the next leaders for your local area, the state – even the United States!

For more information, go to the Minnesota Votes website. 

[MNCDHH logo is shown. Video ends.]

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