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What to Expect When You Go to Vote! Transcript

[Opening with the State of Minnesota seal in the background. ASL narrator Sarah Houge appears, with the following words visible on the screen, “What to Expect When You Go to Vote! 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 polling place. A man in a wheelchair is checking in with an election judge and a line has formed to get into the polling place]

It’s Election Day! Are you ready?

[Different clips of activities in the polling place.]

Be sure you know the location of your polling place and how to get there. Remember, you are only allowed to vote at the polling place assigned to your address.  

[Background: Close up of polling place notification change postcard.]

If you already registered to vote, you should have received a postcard telling you where to go and vote.

[Background: Polling place finder page on the Minnesota Votes website.]

If you’re not sure where to go, you can use the Minnesota Votes website to find your polling place.  There’s a video called “Find Your Polling Place” that explains how to find and use this tool.

[Words briefly appear onscreen: Watch the video “Find Your Polling Place”]

If you haven’t already registered to vote, you can register at your assigned polling place on Election Day.  There’s a video called “Same Day Voter Registration” that explains how this works and what you’ll need to bring with you.

[Words briefly appear onscreen: If you’re not already registered to vote, watch the video “Same Day Voter Registration”]

[Background: Visual of a polling place location, with wheelchair logo and a polls open today sign.]

The polling places open early on Election Day morning, usually at 7:00 a.m. They stay open until 8:00 p.m. that night so that people can vote when it’s convenient for them.

Your boss is required to let you take time off to vote without cutting your pay, and can’t make you take vacation time or personal time off (PTO) to cover the time it takes you to vote.  

[Words appear onscreen: Your boss is required to let you take paid time off to vote.]

[Visual of voters in line.]

If you’re already in line at 8:00 p.m. when the polling place closes, you can still vote – even if the line extends around the building! However, if you arrive in line after 8:00 p.m., you won’t be allowed to vote.

[Close up of wheelchair logo]

Minnesota law requires all polling places to be fully accessible. If a polling place is on an upper level of the building, there must be an elevator or accessible entrance.

[Visual of voter talking with poll worker and various other polling place scenes.]

Poll workers, called election judges, are available to answer questions and assist voters.

Each polling place also must provide a private voting area that is accessible to people who use wheelchairs or who need to sit down while marking their ballots.

The first thing you will do when you get to your polling place on Election Day is to check in with an election judge.   You will tell the election judge your name, your home address, and possibly your date of birth.

The election judge will check to see if you are already on the list of registered voters.

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 text of the “I certify that I:” items briefly appear, rolling upwards on the screen.]

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.

If every statement applies to you, sign your name where the election judge shows you.

If you aren’t able to sign your name, an election judge 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. 

[A Minnesota drivers license briefly appears onscreen.]

Be sure to bring proof of your residence.  You can watch the “Same Day Voter Registration” video for more information about this.

[Words briefly appear onscreen: Watch the video “Same Day Voter Registration”]

[Video of election judges working at the polling place and helping voters.]

If you go to the wrong polling place, the election judge can help direct you to the right place.

If you have any questions or concerns, an election judge will be able to help you.

[A ballot briefly appears onscreen.]

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

[Video clips of election judges helping voters.]

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

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 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.

[Words briefly appear onscreen: Employer, union official or candidate cannot assist you.]

[Words briefly appear onscreen: Let the election judge know you’ve asked for help.]

Just let the election judge 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. 

[Video of election judges helping voters.]

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

[Words appear briefly 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.

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

[Visual of a ballot]

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.

[Words briefly appear onscreen: Mark your ballot clearly and vote for one candidate per race.]

If you make a mistake, ask the election judge 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 polling place 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.

An election judge will show you how to use it and answer any questions you have.

[Visual of a 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. 

[Visual of a deafblind man walking towards the ballot counter and entering the ballot into the machine. An election judge is assisting the deafblind man]

After you’ve checked it, slide the ballot into the counting machine. If your polling place doesn’t have a ballot counting machine, put it into the ballot box.

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 polling place.  

[Visual of a voter receiving a sticker.]

An election judge will give you an “I VOTED!” sticker.  

[Visuals of a series of close-up shots of people who have voted and are wearing the “I Voted” stickers]

Wear it proudly and encourage others to vote.

So, that’s it! 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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