Recording has ASL interpreters, captions and a descriptive transcript
6/29/2020 9:49:13 AM
On Friday, June 5, 2020, MNCDHH hosted a voting info session with our special guests:
The info session was presented in spoken English along with ASL interpretation and captions. We also had a team of DeafBlind interpreters. This recording is accompanied by a descriptive transcript.
COVID-19 has not stopped the voting process and MNCDHH will also continue to provide voter workshops, 1:1 and small group sessions, thanks to our hardworking Outreach and Civic Engagement Specialists:
If you have any questions about voting and researching political candidates, please email Jessalyn Akerman-Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jessalyn will connect you to one of our voting experts.
[Interpreter Patty McCutcheon is in the speaker view. Other participants are not visible. Patty is interpreter for Michael Wall from the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.]
Michael Wall (mid-sentence) >> …Jessalyn said, I control the screen, but I have absolutely no idea how to do that. So hopefully somebody else will spot light him. Secretary Simon.
>> Steve Simon: Thank you very much, Michael. Jessalyn. Thank you to Michael Wall from our office. Thank you to Nasser Mussa from our office. And thanks to all of you for attending this workshop. It's really a privilege to be with you. I know some of you from the work that we have ongoing. We host a quarterly meeting of the -- of disability advocates from all over the state. About elections issues in particular. That's a meeting that usually I convene. Sometimes that Mr. Mussa convenes. But we really enjoy working with you. And it's very important that we do that this year in particular. I don't need to tell you that this is a very special election in many ways. One big way that it's a different election has to do with the public health crisis that we're in the middle of right now. So although that has changed, one thing that will never change is my mission in this office. And my mission in this office is to make it as easy as possible for every eligible Minnesota voter to vote. Period. That's the mission. And that will not change. What will change is the way we have to think about the elections. And let me just share with you our philosophy or our thought as an office about the upcoming statewide elections. Remember, there are two. There's the August Primary. On August 11th. And there's the November 3rd General Election. So there are two big statewide elections. And the safest, most responsible way to approach these elections is as a public health issue. We don't know what the world is going to look like in August and we don't know what the world is going to look like in November. And we might on this call or at this workshop, we might agree that it will probably be okay in August or probably be okay in November. We could make that guess. But if we make that guess and we guess wrong, then we're in big trouble, not only from the standpoint of -- [ Inaudible ] -- but from the standpoint of public health. So you didn't know there would be math involved today, but let me give you the math problem. I view it, and I think my colleagues do as well, somewhat as a math problem. So in Minnesota, we have about 3,000 polling places. And we're expecting about 3 million voters. So that's pretty simple math. It comes down to 1,000 voters per polling place, on average. Some of you vote in places where it's much lower. Some of you vote in places where it's much higher, but the statewide average is 1,000. So that is 1,000 people, and their droplets, circulating in closed spaces, during a 13-hour period. We have to get that number down. That's the name of the game here. The number from 1,000 -- something that's much lower. So the original idea that we had, and I had, was to go just for this election to a universal vote by mail system. And universal vote by mail means that every registered voter automatically gets a ballot sent to them. They don't have to ask. They don't have to request. And that's a system that's already in place in five states, including blue states and red states. And it's already a system in place in part in Minnesota. We have 130,000 Minnesotans who live in communities that already vote this way. Where there are no poll places whatsoever. And they automatically get a ballot mailed to them every single election. This is nothing new. And yet we couldn't get the bipartisan support we needed in the legislature. So we went with plan B. Plan B was a compromise that our office worked out. And democrats
-- [ background noise ]
Simon >> Just want to make sure that people mute their phones if they can. I'll continue. We worked out a deal with democrats and republicans.
[ background noise ]
>> Steve Simon: Should I go ahead? Okay. So what we're doing now is focusing on enhancing and growing opportunities under current Minnesota law. The bottom line is, Minnesota voters have the opportunity to vote from home. Completely. But they have to ask. Unlike what we originally suggested where it comes automatically, you have to do the asking. And it's very simple. That's the good news. The good news is if you go to the website which is mnvotes.org, it will probably take most people three minutes, maybe four minutes maximum, to get that ballot sent to you at home. You can order the August primary, the November general election, or both. And so we're asking Minnesotans to please consider voting from home. The other good news is, we're not starting from zero. In 2018, almost a quarter of Minnesotans, 24%, already chose to vote absentee. Either from home or in person. So this isn't new. We have over -- almost a quarter of voters who already, I hope, felt comfortable in 2018 voting that way. The other good news is that people are already getting the message. And let me just give you a couple of interesting numbers I think you'll find interesting. In 2016, four years ago, when we opened up the website, for the first time in mid-may so that people could start ordering the ballots, in the first week that the website was open in 2016, four years ago, 88 people in the entire state asked to have their ballot mailed to them at home so they could vote from home. Two years later, two years ago in 2018, that number was 173. This year, in 2020, in the first week that that website was open in May, the number was 36,880. So as you can see, people are getting the message, and we want to continue to spread the message that people should vote from home and you're going to hear from Michael and Nasser and others about how that process works, so I won't get into all that of today. But there are two big reasons to vote from home. One is convenience, which is the reason that so many have already chosen to vote that way, and the second is public service, because every voter that votes from home this year is helping to keep the polling place more safe and secure for those who do choose to show up. Not only the voters, but the polling place workers as well. We need 30,000 polling place workers to do that job. And that leads me to the second big pitch that we're asking people to consider, which is to consider also serving as a poll worker. This election. As I mentioned, we need 30,000 of them. And part of the problem that we've seen in other states like Wisconsin where they had a lot of problems in their primary in April, was a collapse in the polling place system where a lot of workers at the last minute declined to serve, and that meant a massive consolidation of polling places, so that the ratio in the city of Milwaukee, for example, was over 10,000 people to 1. So we don't want that to happen. And part of recruiting people to do that job is to convince them of two things. One, we're getting the numbers down of voters who will be circulating in that space, which is why voting from home is so important. And number two, we will have safety equipment and supplies and procedures in place to make it as safe as it possibly can be. So we will have masks. We will have wipes. We'll have disinfectant. We will monitor the use of pens. And we will wipe down polling stations and we will make it as clean as and as secure as we possibly can. So it's really about both driving down the number, but also making it safe enough there so that polling place workers feel comfortable doing that job. And I will add, as many of you know from experience, that election judges in Minnesota tend to be older, a good bit older, and that's great. They did a great job. They have always done a great job. But we know that people of a certain age are more vulnerable to COVID-19. So we anticipate many who typically do this job not wanting to do it this year. And so we need to replenish their ranks with people from other age groups and other demographics who are not as vulnerable. So those are the two asks. I realize that on one level, those sound like contradictory asks. I totally understand how someone might listen to those two requests and say, wait a minute. You've just said that I should vote from home and avoid the polling place. On the other hand, you're asking me if I want to spend my entire day on Election Day in the polling place as an election judge. So I understand how that can look, but the fact is, they are both true. We need 30,000 people to run an election. That's no question. And we're not going to get them unless we drive down the numbers and convince them that it's going to be a clean place to work. So I understand how on the surface, it might look like a contradiction, but in fact, both things are true at the same time. Before I go to your questions and answers and comments and advice, I want to fill you in on a couple litigation items which bear on voters with disabilities. You may know that for years, I and my office tried to get rid of a state law that limited the number of people that any individual could assist in the polling place. For any reason. It could be by virtue of a voter's disability. It could be a deficiency in English language mastery. There was a limit in state law that said you could only help three people. You couldn't help four or five or six. And we and I thought that that was a terrible idea. And a terrible law. And we should get it off the books. The legislature would not act. And so as we predicted, someone sued us. And we engaged in a settlement whereby the law no longer has force or effect. So that law is off the books. Any individual now can help as many people as they want in the polling place. Naturally, the rule still stands. You can't influence the person as to how to vote, but if a person requires assistance, either physically or as to English language mastery, then they can help as many people as want their help. So I think that's a very, very good thing. So I wanted to update you on that as well. One other issue that I wanted to bring up, because I think I owe it to you and our office owes it to you. You remember that on March 3rd, we had a presidential primary in Minnesota. And we were very excited about plans that we had worked out with you and others in the disability rights community to have someone in our call center who was fluent in American Sign Language. Who could help folks. And we had that -- every intention of doing that. We had a plan to do that. In writing and otherwise. For reasons that others can explain, because it's more of an HR issue, in the end, and at the last minute, we were unable to do that. And I want to tell you that I apologize for that. Our office is sorry about that. Our intention all along as we had told you was to do that. We even had an individual in mind who we thought was going to perform that function. But for some reasons that have to do with human resources that I can't go into right now, at the very last minute, that didn't happen. But I want you to know that you have our commitment that going forward, both for the August primary and for the November general election, we will do everything, absolutely everything in our power to make sure that we have someone performing that function. It was a very last-minute detour from our plans, but I still believe that I owe you and other Minnesotans an apology for that. So we’ll do everything in our power to make sure that that doesn't happen again. With that, I want to hand it over to you, not only for questions, but answers, advice, reactions of any kind. Thank you for your time and attention.
>> Michael Wall: Secretary Simon, this is Michael Wall. We have a question for you. From Hannah. She asked if there is any update on getting the ballot online so that it's accessible to blind people because the print one is not accessible. If it gets mailed to her home as an absentee ballot.
>> Steve Simon: Yes. Thank you for the question. And, yes, we are on that issue, absolutely. You know, I have to be careful what I say, because we're in sort of a, what you might call, a pre-litigation phase, so please excuse me, I'm not trying to evade the question, but there's only so many things I can get specific about, other than that we are -- we have absolutely and for a long time identified that issue. And we want to take steps under the Americans with Disabilities Act and others that will enable us to reach the result that we all want to reach. Let's put it that way. I'm sorry to be so vague about it. But given the litigation risk, there's a lot I can't say, but we're on it, and I think we all want the same result.
>> Michael Wall: Sorry, I was just answering a question in the chat room. Someone asked, what the qualifications are to become an election judge? I placed that in the chat directly from the Ramsey County elections website.
>> Steve Simon: Do you require my comment, or you placed it in the chat already?
>> Michael Wall: I placed it in the chat already.
>> Steve Simon: Okay, okay.
>> Michael Wall: Seeing if there are any other questions for right now. If anyone would like to add questions in the chat. Let's see. Yep, we answered that one.
>> This is Anita Buel. I have a question. I moved north, but I'm involved with a lot of people in Ramsey County. And one of my friends that's very close to me owns a house in Ramsey County. And right now, she's moved out of state. With her new boyfriend.
[Patty is replaced in the speaker box with participant Anita Buel.]
>> Anita: But -- oh, one moment. Can she still vote? In the primary? Or is she not able to vote anymore?
>> Steve Simon: Okay.
[Anita is replaced in the speaker box with interpreter Patty McCutcheon.]
>> Patty McCutcheon (interpreter): Oh, one moment. I think it went down for a second. And she's ready for a response.
>> Steve Simon: Well, the one thing we can all agree on is your friend cannot vote in both places. You can't vote twice, only once. And the -- the inquiry about where someone is a resident is very much –
[Speaker view switched back to Anita but Anita has already signed her question. Patty explains and then repeats question.]
Patty/Anita>> I'm sorry, there seemed to be -- she asked an additional question. “So can she vote anywhere in Minnesota?”
>> Steve Simon: No, she can only vote where she is a resident. And the rule for where you are a resident can sometimes get very particular to the person.
[Speaker view switches back to Patty.]
>>Steve Simon: So you have to pick one place. Obviously. And it has to be a place where you reside. Where you intend to remain. Where you have been for at least 30 days. And -- and sometimes it gets even more detailed than that. There are residency arguments about, you know, where most of your contacts are or where your family is or where you get magazine subscriptions or, you know, things like that. And so the key thing is that your friend choose one, and can defend it as the place where your friend is now, has been for 30 days and intends to remain.
Anita >> Okay, I will let her know. I appreciate that. Thank you.
[Speaker view switches back to Anita.]
Anita >> And I just -- I also have another question. This is Anita. You can see me? Everybody can see me? I think -- I liked it in the 1960s when we had the fact sheet or the fact list. I would like to see something similar to that. In sign language. Only because it gives us direct access to the information to where you feel more connected, because of course, the media, you know, keeps going back and forth between sides, and I feel like is that old news, is that correct news, up to date news, and so that's a big issue with us right now. And so I would like to see that facts list in sign language about the people who we are voting for. I think that would be wonderful.
[Speaker view switches back to Patty.]
>> Steve Simon: Oh, okay. That was a last-minute curve of your question. I thought you were referring to fact sheets about the rules of the elections, registration and voting and so forth, because on that front, we are committed to adding our 12th language, which is ASL. One of the things I'm proud of is we have more than doubled the number of languages we've served. It used to be 5. Now it's 11 languages. And we're soon going to be adding a 12th, and I'll let Michael and Nasser talk about how far along we are there. But that's not information on the candidates so much as it is information about voting and the -- excuse me -- and the rules and so forth. But maybe they can fill in about how else it might be extended.
>> Anita: Okay, great.
>> Michael Wall: This is Michael Wall. I'll only say that working in partnership with the Commission on Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing, we have begun to have the first fact sheet interpreted videos produced. Jessalyn or Anne may know more about the specific timing of when those are due to come out. But we are in the midst of making fact sheets in ASL with captions and voice. And also hope to have page summary videos. Not interpreting everything on every page, but in the elections area, in the voting area, you'll be able to, we hope, click on a video which will say "On this page, here are the topics covered." I don't show any more questions in the chat. If anyone wants to be recognized to just sign their question. You can either raise your hand physically. I'm also looking at the participants list for virtual hand raising. If that's something you wanted to do.
>> Steve Simon: And may I say as we're waiting to see if any come in --
>> This is Anita, I do have a question.
>> Steve Simon: Okay.
[Speaker view switches to Anita.]
>> Anita: I just would like to share in terms of folks with other disabilities -- okay, no -- so in Hennepin County, I used to train, I think it was a six-week training, I went through actually, and I was chosen to work with the ballots and checking the ballots and mailing them and all of that, and so we had folks that would oversee that. And it really honestly was a wonderful experience to see the inner workings and how many people was involved with the voting process, and understanding that it was many different people and many different cultures and communities, and we had deaf, deafblind people there, and we also had interpreters at each station. For deaf, deafblind people. But they were not able to use their SSPs -- or they were, excuse me, able to use their SSPs. So that was impressive. And so I'm hoping folks are interested in volunteering to continuing to do that, because that was really wonderful to thinking about voting and how important it is. I think that voting accessibility was wonderful.
[Speaker view returns to Patty.]
>> Steve Simon: Maybe this is a point where I could get in was I was going to say before, which is if there are no further questions, I don't want anyone on this call to feel as if this is your only shot or your only shot. You may have questions of Michael Wall or Nasser Mussa from our office. But if you think of something tomorrow or next week or next month, I want to make sure you feel comfortable reaching out to either those two gentlemen who are great, and also including me. My personal email at the office. This is the one that goes right to me with no filter and no screener. It just goes right to me. And the email address is simply:. I'll repeat it. . I still would love to hear from you, including your pushback, or your criticism or whatever you have. So I appreciate your time and attention.
>> Jessalyn Akerman-Frank: I think at this time, we'll switch interpreters, Michael.
[Speaker view switches to interpreter Tarra Grammenos.]
>> Michael Wall: Thank you. Secretary Simon, we had a repeat of the question, so if you could just briefly repeat about anything being done to create an accessible online ballot for the blind.
>> Steve Simon: Yes. And unfortunately -- I'll have to repeat what I said before which is because we're in discussion about potential litigation, I have to be a little bit careful what I say, other than that, we support, all of us, the same result. And we're trying to figure out a good way to get there as soon as possible. So what I can say is we of course support what you're talking about, making it fully accessible online. There are a few steps we'll need to take to get there. I wish I could be more specific, but we're working on it, and it's -- it's a goal we all share. And share for this election, by the way. As soon as we can possibly get it.
>> Michael Wall: Thank you. Ellie has a question. If you'd like to sign it, please.
[Speaker view switches to Ellie.]
>> Ellie: One moment, please. I have a rather simple question. I arrived late, and the meeting here was going on, and I got here quickly, I'm sorry that I was a little bit late. But anyway, I caught Simon mentioning something about wanting to know the name of the possible host?
[Speaker view switches to Tarra.]
Ellie >> I'm sorry, one moment.
[Speaker view returns to Ellie.]
Ellie >> The name of the position. Anita Buel was mentioning a wonderful experience that she had. Where she was there. And I'm -- I am rather interested. So I would like to know, what is the name of that particular position? That Anita Buel was describing.
[Speaker view returns to Tarra.]
>> Steve Simon: I'm happy to have Anita discuss that.
[Tarra raises her fingers to wait until the speaker view switches.]
>> Anita: I would be happy to discuss that.
>> Tarra: But can we get the picture on Anita for a second?
[Speaker view switches to Anita.]
>> Unknown: One moment. There, okay.
>> Anita: Hi. Okay. I actually applied through the voting, where you go to -- in your area, that particular district, that ward or whatever it is. I believe it's the election judge or coordinator, something like that. I forget the name of it, but you go to a training, and where you -- it's mandatory that you go. And then they do a background check on you. And then I believe you learn how to communicate with people without showing voter bias. So you just take a very humble stance. So from my experience, when I worked there, and they actually put me where they knew deaf voters actually would can come to that particular site, and so they hired an interpreter for that location. They knew that deaf came into that area. So -- but we couldn't discuss anything, but honestly, it was an incredible experience to see so much diversity and culture in that particular location. I was very moved by it. I was -- it was a positive experience. I helped fill out forms. I made sure that there was nothing missed. If there was missed information, I would give it back to them. I couldn't say anything. I just pointed to it. And then they would put it in there to process the vote. So we were there to just -- and other people were watching of course. I was paid a small stipend, but I think more the experience of seeing young people come in to vote really meant a lot to me. And I hope I answered your question. I think you can go into the website and find -- I don't know. You have to find out what district you are in. And then volunteer. Does that make sense?
[Speaker view returns to Tarra.]
>> Michael Wall: I have a question in the chat to relay. For Secretary Simon. “I registered absentee ballot for the March election. When I lived in Washington, D.C. Now I have moved back to Minnesota. Due to the pandemic. Do I have to refill out the absentee ballot again now that I am no longer living in D.C. and have moved back to Minnesota?”
>> Steve Simon: It's a good question, and the answer is yes, you still need to go to mnvotes.org, or otherwise get a paper version of that same application at a city hall or a government building, and you do still have to fill out the form again. The good news is it will count for both elections. You don't have to do it for both the primary and the general. You can ask for both of those in the same document or the same online feature. You'll be good to go.
>> Michael Wall: I show Ellie's hand raised in the participant list, but they may be from her question before. I'm not showing any questions in the chat.
[Speaker view changes to Ellie.]
>> Ellie: I do have a question, yes, Michael. This is Ellie. I don't know if I can explain it again or ask later or contact the person directly. But one is, to contact and encourage the community to register to vote, I am kind of curious what is the plan? Or how are you planning to do that? The actual outreach for voting? Or at least registration. And it seems, maybe people -- it might be out of your control, Secretary of State, but my second question is, sometimes the candidate at a rally, I'll go and just listen to a rally, and just to hear the candidates speak, you know, how they travel around at different rallies and I know COVID-19 has changed that, but I am curious and I am wondering, how are they providing interpreting services to go to a rally to better understand the candidates? I understand with COVID-19 now that might be more difficult.
[Speaker view returns to Tarra.]
>> Steve Simon: Okay, let me try to answer the first question first. Nasser and Michael and the whole team have a lot going on between now and November in terms of getting the word out, both for registration, and for people voting from home. A lot of it really starts and ends with that website, mnvotes.org. You can still do did the old-fashioned way and go into a physical place, but you don't have to. So mnvotes.org is where you find out and not just find out, it's where you can register to vote online. It's where you can order your ballot online to come to you, and it's where you can find out more information about serving as an election judge. We have everything from social media messages. We've a so-called toolkit that just came out this week where organizations can use it to get the word out about both of our big asks which is voting from home and serving as a poll worker. So we have a lot of ready-made products that are ready to go and we're reaching out to communities all over the state, public, private, non-profit, to spread the word about those two things. That's as much as I can say generally. As to your second question, the issue of how to make political candidates better understood by all at rallies is really up to the individual political candidates. The better campaigns on all sides have a sign language interpreters, have other ways that people can understand the speaker. But it's really up to them. For rallies, there typically is not a requirement that they provide any particular accommodation for anyone. But the good ones do. And you're seeing more and more of that.
>> Michael Wall: Okay. We have a question. “If postal mail shuts down, I imagine,” this is Michael speaking, “because of funding, what happens next? As far as getting absentee ballots? Would we have to go in person then?”
>> Steve Simon: So I don't think that's going to happen. I sure hope it doesn't. I will tell you that it's something that keeps secretaries of state in every state up at night. Because we are all, to some degree, telling people to consider voting from home. And if we tell people to consider voting from home, and then the mail isn't there, to get the ballot from home to a government office, then we have problems. I would say this. If you get the ballot by mail, but there's some sort of problem with the mail in terms of getting it back after you have voted that ballot, there is always the option of simply physically dropping it. It doesn't have to be returned in any special way to the government office. It just has to get there. So that means you or potentially someone else could drop it off. It means you could potentially use a private service like FedEx or UPS or someone else. Although I realize that is expensive and that is a burden. But it's something that we have thought about, as you know, there's been talk about the postal service, I can tell you this. The postal service has assured us, all of the Secretaries of State, that they have no problem with capacity, meaning, if every single person in America voted by mail this year, they could handle that, in fact, they sort of joked with us when we were on a phone call with them, they said, you know, compared to Christmas and the holidays, this is nothing. That every year in December, they handle a much, much, much bigger volume of mail than even an all-mail election could ever be. So they were quite confident that if they're fully funded that they could handle it. They have the personnel. They have the people. But these national conversations about overall funding of the postal service are concerning. I have to tell you just my prediction and that's all it is a prediction is if it looked like that that was going to happen, I think you would see a -- A focused surge of litigation. In virtually every state to get a court to order that there be funding enough to make sure that people's ballots are delivered. I mean, I can't imagine courts not intervening. If the only difference between someone voting and not voting was a functioning postal service, I honestly can't imagine courts sitting by and allowing that to happen. I could be wrong. But that is what I predict. So it's a fair question and one, believe me that I and colleagues around the country have thought about, but for now we're operating as if the postal service will be reliable. In time for people to vote their ballots from home.
>> Michael Wall: Thank you, sir. Jessalyn asked that I let people know that the Commission on Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing is also training ten contractors to do voter outreach. For the deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing community. So there's an additional resource for you. Migdalia asks, “do you feel it's safer to do the absentee ballots by mail, especially now with the Post Office situation?” Migdalia, I don't know if you feel that question has been answered already, or you want to add anything to that.
[Speaker view changes to Migdalia.]
>> Migdalia Rogers: Yes, well, actually, I can explain. Really, some people feel a little bit hesitant about -- okay. Okay. Some people do feel a little bit hesitant about mailing their ballot in because they feel like if they mail it, to the people who take care of it, and then it gets stolen or thrown away or it's not voted in the way they wanted it to be voted. So is it well trusted enough? For the voting process? If it's going through the mail?
[Speaker view changes to Tarra.]
>> Steve Simon: So the good news is that in Minnesota, you can track your ballot. You can go online and you can determine whether the county or city has received and processed it. You can determine that. So if you have your, you know, information, you can go online. You can see, if you go to mnvotes.org, you can track it. So you never have to wonder, if you popped it in the mail three days or four days or seven days or ten days before the election, you'll never have to wonder, did they get it or not, did they process it, how do I know. So let's talk about what happens if somebody sent it in, let's say, seven days before election. And then you're looking and you're looking, and on Election Day itself, there's no confirmation that they received it or processed it and maybe you're getting nervous, there's always that option of going down physically and voting. That may not be what you wanted to do, but that's always an option. It will simply be on the lookout for that absentee ballot, so if you want to vote in person, and then the absentee ballot comes a day later or two days later, they'll make sure it's not counted. That is something that is tracked. So it's always an option for you. But you can track it.
>> Michael Wall: Patty, did you have a –
[Speaker view changes to Patty.]
>> Patty McCutcheon: Interpreter switch. And Anita has a question.
[Speaker view changes to Anita.]
>> Anita: So for the absentee ballot, do we mail it to -- can they mail it just to the Post Office box, or just to the resident's house?
[Speaker view returns to Patty.]
>> Steve Simon: Yes, that is an issue. They can only mail it to the resident's house. They do not mail to P.O. boxes. And I know that can be difficult for some folks. And there are people in some communities where a P.O. boxes are more common. For example, on tribal lands, for those who live on reservations, often, not always, but often, there is a P.O. box, and the mail doesn't come to their home on the reservation. It comes somewhere else. That is a trickier situation and one that we're trying to work through. But you're right to raise the question. Yeah, under the law, they can only go to actual addresses, and not P.O. boxes.
Michael >> And Ellie has a question as well.
[Speaker view changes to Ellie.]
>> Ellie: So I just want to mention quick. So on the Next Door website, I often look at that, and there were some people that had their mailboxes damaged or stolen. So I'm concerned with the riots and how much the damaged, what about the -- I mean, I live in northeast Minneapolis and there's a lot of things that have been taken, and so I look at the Next Door app and there are people that have said their mailbox is stolen, and they're just waiting for a response. And so just wanted to give people that heads-up that that's a possibility that if that happens, you have to go to the post office then.
[Speaker view changes to Patty.]
>> Steve Simon: Right. My understanding -- that's a postal service issue, unfortunately, not for your office. But they handle it one of two ways. One is to collect your mail at the post office and then let you know somehow that it's there for you to collect. But in some circumstances and some instances, they will -- and it really very much depends, they will go to the home itself, even though it's not a formal mailbox, they can do that, my understanding is under certain circumstances. But that's a good question. I hope that will be resolved by the August primary. For sure.
[Speaker view changes to Rita.]
>> Rita: So this is Rita. I have a question. Is it possible to have an absentee ballot in Braille for deafblind individuals or blind individuals? Is it possible to request an absentee ballot in Braille? So they can become more independent and vote on their own? And also, will that be accessible, like, for the census, is it possible to be voting online because we know that, you know, things get lost in the mail sometimes, so is that possible? To do the actual voting online instead of --
[Speaker view switches to Patty.]
>> Steve Simon: So voting online is not possible. There is nowhere in America that does that. There have been a couple of small experiments, but really, it's not done because it really just is not secure yet. Now, it may be someday. But for now it's not. So no, there's no option to vote online. You can register to vote online of course at mnvotes.org. But you cannot vote online. As to Braille, you know, that's a great question. As you know, for those voters with a disability related to sight, there are other ways, both in the polling place and otherwise, through software and through hardware that people can get the information about the candidates via audio and so forth. I will tell you, I'm less familiar with the options on Braille. Maybe Nasser and Michael can tell us a little bit about that. I'm just less familiar. That often is very city and county dependent. So not run through our office, which is why I am not familiar with that. But I will get familiar with that. Thank you.
>> Michael Wall: I'd like to thank -- And Rita's got her hand up again.
>> Nasser: We have done the absentee application in Braille in the past, but we've never done the ballot itself in Braille. So that's mainly, as you say, it is county and the city, because we don't have a any ballot in our office. But we do provide the Braille absentee ballot application. Upon request. Michael, do you want to say something?
>> Michael Wall: I don't want to cut Rita off, so if you have a question that's only for Secretary Simon, the three other speakers have specifics about voting and the application process. And --
>> Rita: I have a question for all three.
>> Michael Wall: And these kind of process questions, we're happy to answer. But Secretary Simon has been very kind to go beyond what he was expecting to spend here today. And we do have some other things to present you, and we'll be glad to take your questions. So, Rita, if you have something that you believe only Secretary Simon can answer, please feel free, but this will be the last question for him.
[Speaker view changes to Rita.]
>> Rita: So I also want to mention that the Minnesota State for the Blind Services may have some resources and some additional information for you to help you get that for the future.
[Speaker view returns to Patty.]
>> Steve Simon: Thank you. And I will just sign off here by saying, again, you have great experts from our office who can answer more of your questions of a technical nature. But if you have any thoughts or advice for me in the advice. And I'll give the email one more time.. Thank you very much. And I appreciate your time and attention and advocacy. Thank you.
>> Jessalyn Akerman-Frank: Thank you so much. Everybody's saying, thank you, thank you so much for everything.
>> Steve Simon: Thank you.
>> Michael Wall: Great. We are going to jump in to presenting. And again, there are really five parts left. What those are generally are, how to apply to vote at home. For an absentee ballot. We use both terms. What the county does when they receive your invitation. That'll be Emily. Your application, I'm sorry. Then what is involved in filling out your absentee ballot, once it arrives. How do you get it back? And then Emily will talk about what does the county elections office do when they receive your ballot. What happens to it? How is it stored? And then we'll take questions. Great. So I am going to share my screen. I'm sorry, Nasser?
>> Nasser Mussa: I said, go ahead.
>> Michael Wall: Which hopefully will not cause any technical logical problems. Technological problems.
[Speaker view is replaced with Michael’s screen, which has an open PowerPoint slide. On the slide is the State of Minnesota seal and the following text, “Voting From Home. Absentee Ballots in Minnesota. Applying for a Ballot. Patty is pinned in a smaller video screen on the top right corner.]
>> Michael: Okay. What you should know is that the two PowerPoints that Nasser and I will be working from will have more specific information than we will say. But you will be able to get copies from the Commission. By reaching out to Jessalyn or to Anne. But they will have copies to share with you if you would like the slides. I am not going to be monitoring questions myself at this point from the chat. So anyone, Jessalyn, if you'd like to share any of those, if something needs to be repeated or stopping us to ask, to clarify --
>> Jessalyn Akerman-Frank: I will definitely, yep.
>> Michael Wall: Thank you. Okay.
[PPT slide changes. The new slide has the Seal of Minnesota and the following text, “General overview of AB process and timeline. Absentee ballot is the chance to vote up to 46 days early (in MN), either by mail or in person at an early voting center in your county. Application deadline – You can apply for a ballot any time during the year, except the day of the election. – Leave time for election officials to a) mail your ballot and b) for you to return it on or before Election Day.”]
>> Michael: So the general overview of the absentee ballot process and the timeline is what we're going to start with. Absentee ballots can begin to be used, you can vote early, by mail, or in person, up to 46 days before the actual Election Day. So that will take place 46 days before the August 11th Primary and again begin 46 days before the November 3rd General Election. You can vote in person at least at your county elections office, and some counties have additional early voting centers. Or you can put in an application to vote by mail using an absentee ballot at any time. So today you could go on, as Secretary Simon said, you can go online, to print out a form or to do the application online, which is quick and easy, and request either an absentee ballot for August or for November or for both. There is no application deadline for an absentee ballot. But you need to leave yourself time for the office to receive it and process it. For them to mail you your ballot. For you to fill it out and have it witnessed. And to get it back by Election Day. So keep that in mind regarding your timing.
[Michael goes to the next slide. On the slide is the state seal and the following text, “Deadline to return your ballot. – Your ballot will not count if it is received after Election Day. – Return your ballot by mail or delivery service (e.g. FedEx or UPS) by 8 p.m. – You can also return your ballot in person no later than 3 p.m. on Election Day to the election office that sent your ballot. – You can drop off ballots for up to 3 other voters. You must show identification with name and signature when returning a ballot for someone else.”]
>> Michael: Your ballot itself does have a deadline. It has a serious deadline. If it is received after Election Day, it will not count. So you need to return your ballot either by mail or some delivery service and those things have to be received by 8:00 a.m., usually of the mail, the U.S. mail comes in earlier, or you can return that ballot in person no later than 3:00 p.m. on Election Day to the elections office that sent your ballot. Generally your county elections office. Don't return it to your polling place. They can't take it. They won't take it. And it won't count. Your polling place is only for voting in person. And a person can drop off ballots for up to three other people. But no more. And when they do, so if you ask someone to take your ballot to the county elections office for you, they will need to show identification. With their name and signature when they're dropping that off. And only for up to three other voters.
[PPT changes to next slide with the state seal and the following text, “Track your Ballot. – You can track the status of your ballot and confirm that it was received and counted.” And the URL for.]
>> Michael: As Secretary Simon said, once you have applied, you can track the status on our website, mnvotes.org. And you can see the full link is there. But you can find out, have they received your application? Have they processed your application? Have they mailed out your ballot yet? And after you have mailed in your ballot, have they received it? So you can track the status of your ballot just like you do for a UPS package or a FedEx package with a tracking number.
[PPT moves on to the next slide with the state seal and the following text, “Applying for an Absentee Ballot. Ways to apply – Method (Paper and online). – Paper: a) Printed from OSS website or mailed from OSS or County Elections Office (CEO), b) Returned to CEO by mail, fax, email, or in person. – Online: a) URL to, b) Must have email and state ID or SS# (Don’t? Use paper form).
>> Michael: So there is more than one way to apply for an absentee ballot. You can apply on paper. Using a paper form. Or you can apply online. If you're going to apply for an absentee ballot using the paper form, you can print it out from our website. Or you can get it mailed from our office or the county elections office, at times you can pick them up at your city government office. And like the voter registration application, there are lots of ways to return your application to the county elections office. And the -- I'm using CEO as an abbreviation for "County Elections Office" on the PowerPoint. So you can drop it off. You can mail it. You can also fax it. And if you take a picture of it that's legible, that people can read, you can attach it to an email. So the application itself can go back lots of ways. The ballot cannot. That has to be returned in person or by mail. But there is no electronic way to return a ballot. If you apply online, and I think Secretary Simon said this as well, it just takes a few minutes. It takes less time than registering to vote. And you'll sign electronically. But you do need, if you're doing it online, you need to have an email address, just like registering to vote online, and you'll need either your state I.D. number or social security number. If you don't have one of those forms of I.D., and you don't have or you don't have an email address, you'll need to use a paper form.
[Slide changes to a new slide with the state seal and the following text, “Applying for an Absentee Ballot. You must be eligible to vote in Minnesota to use an absentee ballot. To be eligible to vote in Minnesota you must: - Be at least 18 years old on Election Day – Be a citizen of the United States – Resided in Minnesota for 20 days immediately before Election Day (vacation okay!) – Have any felony conviction record discharged, expired or completed – Not to be under court-order guardianship where a court has revoked your voting rights – Not have been ruled legally incompetent by a court of law.]
>> Michael: When you're applying for an absentee ballot, you don't have to be registered yet. We'll talk about it. But you do need to be eligible to vote in Minnesota. So things like being at least 18 years old on Election Day, being a citizen, residing in Minnesota for 20 days before Election Day. And that doesn't mean you have to be in the state. If you go on vacation, somewhere outside of Minnesota, that's fine. It's where your residence, are you living in Minnesota? Is your home here? And also, some court-orders restrictions, if you haven't been convicted of a felony, and are still serving that sentence, or if any other circumstance, if a court has taken away your right to vote. And I'll just note that being under guardianship does not mean you can't vote. The court has to specifically take away your voting right.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “Applying for an Absentee Ballot. – What is your registration status (already registered or not yet registered)? – Process? The same! – The CEO will send you a registration form with your ballot, if needed. – Choice to need witness to see required IDs (Election Day Registration) or to fill out a registration form (online or paper form) first. – Easier if you are already registered.”]
>> Michael: What is your registration status? So I mentioned, you don't have to be registered already to fill in the application for an absentee ballot. We recommend you do, though. Because it's easier once you get the ballot. It's easier for you and it's easier for your witness. But if you apply for an absentee ballot, and you're not yet registered, that's okay. You will get a registration form with your absentee ballot in the mail. And a special set of instructions for you and your witness to make sure that they see the required documents to prove who you are and where you live. Just as you would at the polling place if you registered on Election Day. Again, we recommend, get registered, and then fill out that absentee ballot application.
[Slide moves to a slide with two forms. On the left is the paper application form. On the right is an online application form. The slide title is “The Application Form.”]
>> Michael: So I said that there were two ways to apply: Paper form, which is shown on the left of the slide that's currently showing, and online. They include the same information. They may be slightly different in the order or the wording. But the information is the same. I'm going to quickly go through a series of slides that shows you what's asked and where they are on the two different forms. We won't spend a lot of time. Again, you can get a copy of these slides and take your time to look at them or ask someone for help to find where on your method of applying the information is. But just to show you quickly that there are seven different parts of information.
[The next slide appears. It has the state seal and the following text, “The Application Form. Seven parts: - Which elections you want an absentee ballot for – Name, – Personal information (DOB, County, Phone, Email), - Identification number(s), - Address where you live, - Address to send the ballot (if different), - Certification signature.”]
>> Michael: Which elections do you want an absentee ballot for?
>> Unknown: And Michael, we're going to switch interpreters.
>> Michael Wall: Okay.
[Pinned box with Patty changes to show Tarra. Slide remains as is.]
>> Michael Wall: Great. So there are seven kinds of information that you'll need to give, whichever form or method you use to apply. Which elections do you want an absentee ballot for? What is your name? Some personal information: Your birth date, contact information. Your state identification number or social security number. Address where you live. Address to send your ballot if you want it sent somewhere other than where you live. And your certification signature. It's basically like the oath that you sign when you register to vote. It's saying that you understand what you're doing and that the information is correct, and that if you lie, you could get in big trouble. I will quickly mention here on identification numbers that we recommend, when you are asked to put in either your last four digits of social security number or your state-issued I.D. number, that you do both. The reason is, when you return your ballot, they'll match the number you put on your ballot, on the signature envelope, with the number that you put in your application. So that -- and this is what I do. So I don't have to remember which one I put on the application, I put both on the application. So it doesn't matter which one I put on the ballot. Because it will match. So we recommend putting both.
[The next slide appears, with red encircling the top part on the paper application and the middle of the online application, where you fill out which election you want to participate in on the application form.]
>> Nasser Mussa: And I think, Michael, if I may add one is that also including a phone number, is really helpful, because counties will follow up with, as quickly as possible, if your ballot is not being accepted.
>> Michael Wall: That's an excellent point, Nasser. Thank you. The more contact information you put down, the easier it will be for them, the elections office, to contact you if you they have a question. And that's the only thing they use that for is to contact if there's a question. So seven kinds of information. Here you can see that which election you want an absentee ballot for is the first one. And I've circled in red on these slides. It's number one on the paper form, and what it looks like on the online form.
[The next slide appears and it is the same application forms but the red part encircles where to put your name and personal info.]
>> Michael Wall: And for each one of these, this is where your name gets entered on both sets of forms. Your personal information, date of birth, et cetera. Then county. Phone and email.
[The next slide appears and it is the same application form but the red part encircles options to mark different types of identification including a MN-issued drivers’ license or ID card; social security number; or none of the above..]
>> Michael Wall: The identification numbers we talked about.
[The next slide appears and it is the same application form but the red part encircles where to put your addresses - where you live, and where to send your ballot.]
>> Michael Wall: Address where you live and address where to send the ballot.
[The next slide appears and it is the same application forms but the red part encircles where to put your signature. A pop-up box appears with criteria to check to satisfy all requirements for signing.]
>> Michael Wall: And that signature that you're certifying that you're eligible to vote and that your information is correct and you understand that you could be charged if you intentionally lie.
[The next slide appears and it shows the backside of the paper form with information and instructions listed.]
>>Michael Wall: Great? The back of the form has information for you. That answers some frequently asked questions.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “The Back of the Paper Form” Options available to you if you have a disability, you may: sign the application yourself; make your mark or; ask another person to sign for you in your presence (have the person sign their own name as well); if you have adopted the use of a signature stamp for all purposes of signature, you may use your signature stamp or ask another person to use your signature stamp in your presence (See Minnesota Statutes, section 645.44, subdivision 14).]
>>Michael Wall: There is a section on options available to you if you have a disability. And that includes different ways to sign that certification. It's okay for someone else to sign for you if they're in your presence and you ask them to do it. If you have a mark rather than a signature, that's fine too. And same with use of a signature stamp. It all comes from the voter themselves. And it's required that the voter wants it done that way.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “Options to Turn in Your Paper Application” - Mail it to your CEO; Drop it off at your CEO (bringing/mailing to OSS will delay by a few days; Fax it; Email a photo of it; County Addresses, Email, Fax (search ‘County Contacts’ at mnvotes.org]
>>Michael Wall: And then lastly, how you can turn in your paper application, because online automatically gets sent to your county. You can mail it. Drop it off. And, by the way, if you do either one of those to the Secretary of State's office, we will forward it, but it will delay the process by a few days because we then have to get it to your county. So if you can get directly to your county elections office, that's better. You can fax it. And, again, if you take a photograph of it or scan it, you can email it. And there is a list on our website of all county addresses, email addresses, and fax numbers, along with their phone numbers. And you can search county contacts at mnvotes.org, or the link is right there if you get a copy of this.
>> Nasser Mussa: So one thing that I want to say, if you decide to email it to the county, which you may choose to do, just make sure that you, you know, either check with them if they received it, because sometimes email can go to junk mail. So that's just, you know, a friendly reminder.
>> Michael Wall: And one way -- thank you, Nasser. One way you can do that checking is contacting them directly, and another way is to track your ballot. Because it includes receipt of the application. And speaking of receiving the application, I'm going to hand things over to Emily Hunt from Ramsey County elections who will talk about what happens to that application once the county receives it.
[Powerpoint slide is replaced by a full view of Tarra.]
>> Emily Hunt: Hi, everyone. Can you hear me okay? Okay. Hi, this is Emily Hunt from Ramsey County. Thank you for having me today. And I appreciate hearing all of your questions for Secretary Simon, and Michael and Nasser, it's incredibly helpful for us to hear what we need to consider and really what kind of communication we can put together as we continue -- or we start, in some ways, start new outreach, but we continue the outreach that we're trying to do with the community. So Michael has gone through the application with you, which is wonderfully helpful. I'm used to going through the entire thing myself, so that saves me some work. After -- so after the application does come to the county, and the online application is available during state election years. Paper application is always available to voters. We do receive the applications, as Michael said, the four different ways. And we often receive them all year round. We usually, if we receive applications, paper applications, in January, we will let the voters know that we have them, but we will not process them in the system yet. Often folks are ready to go for the year. And they want to be signed up for both elections or any special elections that might occur during the year, so they turn them in, but sometimes that's a little early for us to be able to actually record them in the system. But after we do, we do process it. An online application or a paper application, pairing with the voter record, if we can find a voter record. So that's any registration that we have in our system that voters in Minnesota have submitted. We find those voters. And then we create an absentee record for them. For the elections that they request. Now, that absentee record is a unique I.D. for that election or set of elections. We have a unique number to the ballot once we prepare the ballot, once the ballot comes to us so we know who it belongs to and where it came from and which voter we can give voter history to for that election. So it's -- that's kind of the process for registered voters that we can find in the system. If there's no address changes, if there are no name changes, and we find a voter who is registered, we can easily just update the information from the application and create that absentee record. Now, if we do find voters who are on this application may be changing their address or their name, there's new information according to what we have in our system, well, folks will then be issued what will be considered non-registered, that they will need to update their registration. And to do that by mail, it is like voting in person on election day, in that they do need to provide election day registration to their witness in order to register by mail. And that -- I'll go into that maybe a little bit later when we're talking about reviewing the ballots as they come back. But that is -- there are ways that if someone is not registered and they need to update the registration, that is fine. We can do that for voters. But we do -- we would like to in our outreach encourage folks to register. If they can register first and update their voter registration, then request an absentee ballot, that does tend to save time for people. In the long-term. And it is one less step for them when they have to complete their absentee ballot information. So that's what happens with the application. We keep the applications on file. We have them for the information provided just in case there are any errors. We have a lot of staff, a dedicated staff who are doing all of that data entry bees and I'll say with my hands here, we had a stack of probably about a foot of applications ready to enter just the last couple of weeks with several -- ten folks entering those. So we keep all of those, and we file them away. And they're ready for us if we need to check for voters. And like Michael said, we encourage contacting us if you have any questions. If you're a Ramsey County voter and you have any questions, or the county that you live in. Folks are friendly on the phone and they're absolutely willing to tell you the status of your ballot, if you have questions, and you're not able to find the information on "Track your Ballot" on mnvotes.org. But we are happy to talk to voters directly. We like to provide the assurance that the ballot's being processed, and we're kind of -- we're being timely. If there is especially very little time left in the process for you. Looks like there may be some questions down here?
>> Michael Wall: I have the questions that were asked. Which I'll talk to -- I just want to pull up the next screen here. For sharing. Great.
[Tarra is minimized to small screen pinned on top right corner while slide pops up with the state seal and the following text, “Voting From Home: Absentee Ballots in Minnesota: Filling out the ballot.” ]
>> Michael Wall: So there were two questions asked in the chat. One was actually answered by Emily after the question was asked, which is is there an individual number assigned to someone's absentee ballot? Which she said, yes, there is, which is a security measure that the person is the one assigned to that ballot. And the other question was -- and Emily, if I mess anything up, you just come right back and correct me, and the other was asking a question about the homeless. And how they are able to take part in elections. And we'll probably talk about that under the Q&A. Rather than now. But we will talk about that once we get to the question and answer period. And anyone else who has a question can enter it in the chat or when we get to the question and answer time. So you filled out your application. The county has done an awesome job in receiving it, tracking it, and sending you out your ballot. Or your ballot and your voter registration form, if you were not registered. Let's just go through -- we've got 15 quick slides, hopefully. On what that experience is going to be like. The -- I'll tell you now that the directions that come with your ballot are excellent. They have been updated, gotten feedback, and have developed over years, so they're very good at answering common questions. But if at any time, and this is to build on what Emily said, at any time you have your ballot or in any part of the process, you're not sure about something, reach out. You can reach out to the commission's voter outreach folks who are getting trained in this kind of information. You can reach out to your county elections office. If you live where you have a city elections office like Minneapolis, they are also excellent, and you can reach out to our elections or outreach folks as well. Lots of help for you. But the directions are very comprehensive.
>> Nasser Mussa: And they are available, the instructions are available in other languages. So --
>> Michael Wall: Yeah, in 11 languages. We haven't talked about making an interpreted ASL version of those in instructions, and that would be a big video, but I think that would be fabulous as well, so we'll add that to our list of possibilities.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “Voting in Light of Covid-19” - Polling places will still be open, and must still be accessible for voters; voters will still have access to ballot-marking machines, assistance from Election Judges, and the ability to bring someone to help them at the polls; to limit your time at the polling place, register in advance, check your registration and polling place before leaving home, and bring your own pen; Voters do not have to go to the polls to vote, they can vote from home!; Voting from home is the best option to reduce the spread of the virus.]
>> Michael Hall: So the ballot itself. Nasser had a great point when we were setting this up that we just want to make sure that you know some things about voting in this time of the virus. There will still be open polling places for you to vote in person or for anyone, if you want to or need to. That will still be an option. There'll still be ballot marking machines. There'll still be assistance from elections judges. And as Secretary Simon said, you'll still have the ability to bring someone with you to help you at the polls if you wish. There are some things you can do if you are going to vote in person to limit your time at that polling place. And registering in advance is one of them. Checking your registration and the location of your polling place before you leave home is another. And we thought that just in case, if you want to bring your own pen, you won't have to worry about whether they're cleaning pens or have disposable pens. Each county has their own system. Although the state is trying to help with guidelines and with money. But if I were voting in person, I would bring my own pen. But you don't have to vote in person. You can vote from home. Using an absentee ballot. And that's what we're going to be talking about now is that process. We think it's the best way to keep safe and to have a convenient voting experience too.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “Deadline to return your ballot” - Your ballot will not count if it is received after Election Day; Return your ballot by mail or delivery service (e.g. FedEx or UPS) by 8pm.; You can also return your ballot in person no later than 3pm on Election Day to the election office that sent your ballot; You can drop off ballots for up to 3 other voters. You must show identification with name and signature when returning a ballot for someone else.]
>> And the interpreters will be switching.
>> Michael Wall: Great time to do it. I'll pause.
[Tarra is replaced in the pinned interpreter box by Patty.]
>> Michael Wall: Great. We actually talked about this under the application, but just to repeat for you quickly, you cannot return your absentee ballot after election day, or it will not count. That's what you need to know. So the earlier you begin the process, the better. If you put in your absentee ballot request form now, at 46 days before elections, you will have your absentee ballot mailed to you, and then you'll have weeks to fill it out. To think about your choices. To make sure that you have your witness before you actually do the filling out. So you've got lots of time. But the deadline for returning it is on election day, and the times are there.Depending on whether you're dropping it off or mailing it back.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “General overview of AB ballot process - For your ballot to count, remember this important information: Read the instructions that come with your ballot carefully; You will need a witness when you vote and complete your ballot. The witness can be either a registered Minnesota voter or a notary; Mail the ballot and forms back right away after you finish. Your ballot will not count if it is received after Election Day.]
>> Michael Wall: When you get your absentee ballot, you want everything to be as required so that there is no need for -- no need for the county to try and reach out to you to fix something. So know these three things ahead of time. One, is when your absentee ballot comes, and you open it and look at what's there, your next move should be reading the instructions. Or having someone read them for you. If need be. Because the instructions cover the whole process. They're very helpful. And just like putting together a bedroom fan, which I did last week with my son, you don't have to go back and change anything or correct any mistakes if you know what the steps are before you begin. You will need a witness when you vote using an absentee ballot. If you vote early in person, the person working at the early voting location will be your witness. But if you're voting from home, you will need a registered Minnesota voter or a notary public to witness your ballot. What's involved?Briefly, they need to see your blank ballot, so they know that someone else didn't fill it out. You need to go off then to a private place, just like you would in a polling place, to a private area, and fill it out. And then you'll be putting it in a privacy envelope and coming back to the witness, putting the envelope in the signature envelope, and you'll see all of these parts in a moment. And then that witness signs that they know that you are the person who filled out that ballot. The other job of the witness is to check your identification. They need to know who you are. And if you are registering at the same time, they need to see your documents that prove your eligibility, just like an election judge if you registered on election day. And the third thing is that don't take a lot of time after you have filled in your ballot and gotten everything in the right envelopes, send them back or drop them off right away, because you don't want to miss that deadline.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “General overview of AB ballot process: you will receive either: - ballot, three envelopes, directions; OR, ballot, voter registration form, three envelopes, directions (particular to registering at the same time).”]
>> Michael Wall: You will, depending on whether you are already registered to vote, you'll receive one of these two sets of items. You'll receive your absentee ballot, either way. You'll receive directions, either way. You'll receive three envelopes, which we'll talk about in a second, either way. But the two differences are, if you request your absentee ballot and you're not registered, you'll also receive a voter registration form and your directions will take into account that you need directions for showing the correct identification for registering at the same time.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text,”Three Envelopes???” Underneath are three envelopes; tan, off-white, and white. Off to the side is a sample ballot form. On tan envelope: “Ballot envelope: use this envelope first to keep your ballot secret. Put only your ballot in this envelope and seal it.” Off-white envelope: “Registered voter absentee ballot signature envelope: put the ballot envelope in this; seal the flap.” White envelope on bottom: your address on top left corner; the mailing address in center; and stamp on right corner over the stylized wave image.]
>> Michael Wall: Here are images of the three envelopes that come with your -- with your ballot. And I'll describe them for those who can't see them. Your privacy envelope is an off-white or tan envelope. And it's just to put your completed ballot in so that no one else gets to see what responses you put in, who you voted for, what -- how you voted on a question, et cetera. The second envelope is the signature envelope. This has your identification, your signature, the witness's signature. These are legal requirements that can be seen by the county elections workers to know whose ballot it is, to check signatures, to make sure it's properly witnessed, without going into the ballot itself, because the ballot will not have any identification on it. The third envelope is the envelope to mail back your absentee ballot. I think the envelope we're showing is actually the envelope you'll receive your ballot in, but it's similar. That third envelope will just be to put your signature envelope in to mail. And in just a minute, Emily will tell you about the opening of that envelope and what happens to your signature envelope and then to your ballot at the county.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “Registered Voters: How to vote by absentee ballot for registered voters” Text block on left side: “You will need: ballot; tan ballot envelope; larger white return envelope; pen with black ink; your ID number (Minnesota driver’s license number, Minnesota ID card number, or the last four digits of your social security number. See below if you do not have any of these numbers); witness (anyone registered to vote in Minnesota, including your spouse or relative, or a notary public, or a person with the authority to administer oaths). If any of these items are missing, please contact your local election official.” Text below: “1. Vote! Show your witness your blank ballot, then mark your votes in private; follow the instructions on the ballot; do not write your name or ID number anywhere on the ballot; do not vote for more candidates than allowed. If you do, your votes for that office will not count. See the other side if you make a mistake on your ballot. 3. Seal your ballot in the tan ballot envelope, do not write on this envelope. 3. Put the tan ballot envelope into the white signature envelope.” Two images on right side; one depicting filling out the ballot; and the second putting the ballot in envelope.]
>> Michael Wall: This is from the directions. So for registered voters, you'll see in the directions what you'll need, what should have come in your envelope. As well as things like a pen with black ink and your identification number, your witness, everything you'll need is listed at the top of your directions. It then goes on to tell you how to actually register a vote, and whatnot to write on your ballot. And what not to write on your ballot. Then it tells you to seal your ballot in that tan privacy envelope. And to put that envelope in the signature envelope.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “Registered Voters”. Text on left side: “Registered Voters”. Text on left side: “4. Fill out the white signature envelope completely. If there is no label, print your name and Minnesota address; Print your Minnesota driver’s license number, Minnesota ID card number, or the last four digits of your social security number. Be sure to use one of the same numbers that you provided on your absentee ballot application. Read and sign the oath; ask your witness to print their name and Minnesota street address, including city (not a PO Box) and sign their name (if your witness is an official or notary, they must print their title instead of an address. Notaries must also affix their stamp.) 5. Put the signature envelope into the larger white return envelope to protect your private information from view; seal the envelope. 6. Return your ballot by Election Day to the address on the return envelope. Ballots may not be delivered to your polling place. You have three options: send it so it arrives by Election Day, using US mail or package delivery service; deliver it in person before Election Day or by 3pm on Election Day; or ask someone to deliver it by 3pm on Election Day (this person cannot deliver more than 3 ballots). See the other side for special instructions if you have a disability.” Column of photos on right side: 1, slide ballot into envelope; 2. sign the envelope; 3. slide envelope into mailing envelope; 4. put the envelope into the mailbox.]
>> Michael Wall: Next, the directions tell you how to figure out -- sorry, how to fill out the signature envelope, what goes on, who has to write what. And, remember, these are the directions if you are already registered. When you applied. For an absentee ballot. And then the directions will tell you to put the signature envelope into the large white mailing envelope. Then it reminds you to seal the envelope. And then to return it by election day to the address on the envelope. It goes on.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “Registered Voters: Correcting a mistake”. Text on left side: “If time allows, ask for a new ballot from your election office. Contact your election office at email or phone number, or; completely cross out the name of the candidate you accidentally marked and then mark your ballot for the candidate you prefer (do not initial your corrections).” Text under black line: “If you have a disability: if you have a disability or cannot mark your ballot, your witness may assist you by marking your ballot at your direction, assembling the materials, and filling out the forms for you. When signing the envelope, Minnesota law says you may: sign the return envelope yourself, or; make your mark, or; ask your witness to sign for you in your presence. (have the witness sign their own name as well). If you have adopted the use of a signature stamp for all purposes of signature, you may use your signature stamp or ask your witness to use your signature stamp in your presence. Minnesota Statutes, section 654.44, subdivision 14. Please note: Voting is not covered by power of attorney. A person with power of attorney may only sign for you in your presence, as outlined above.” Image on the right side shows the way to correct a mistake on a form.]
>> Michael Wall: The directions talk about how to correct a mistake. You can request another absentee ballot if you need to. But you have the option of, if you don't have time, to do a full cross-out, and it's explained in the directions. And then there is a repetition of the "If you have a disability" language that we went over before about signing yourself, making a mark, asking a witness to sign for you in your presence, and then they sign their own signature next to it showing that they gave your signature under your directions.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “Non-Registered Voters”. Tan block of text identical to the registered voter checklist of necessary items. Text underneath: “Important: you must submit the voter registration application with your ballot (in the white signature envelope) for your vote to be counted. 1. Fill out the voter registration application and sign it. Show your witness your driver’s license or other authorized proof of where you live. See the other side for a list of options. 2. Vote! Show your witness your blank ballot, then mark your votes in private. Follow the instructions on the ballot. Do not write your name or ID number anywhere on the ballot. Do not vote for more candidates than allowed. If you do, your votes for that office will not count.” Two images on the right side: 1. filling out the registration form; 2. filling out the ballot.]
>> Michael Wall: If you are not registered, the directions are pretty much the same, except it talks about also including the register -- the voter registration application.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the same instructions for sealing the envelope as for registered voters. The registration application goes in the 2nd envelope along with the tan ballot envelope (white signature envelope) before putting it in the mailing envelope.]
>>Michael Wall: And that the signature envelope includes information to prove your identity and where you live, again, because you are practicing a form of election-day registration.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the same instructions for sending in your ballot & registration: mail it by Election Day, deliver in person on or by 3pm on Election Day; or ask someone to drop it off for you. “To check the status of your absentee ballot, visit mnvotes.org.” Image on right side of the envelope going into the mailbox.]
>> Michael Wall: And then, again, it will tell you to -- what order to put the envelopes in and to seal the envelope and return it by Election Day.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “Non-registered Voters”. Text: “Options for proof of where you live: A valid Minnesota driver’s license, Minnesota ID card, or permit with your current address, or; a photo ID that does not have your current address along with a document that has your current address: eligible photo IDs (Minnesota or another state’s driver’s license, learner’s permit, or ID card, a US passport, US military or veteran ID card, Minnesota high school/college/university ID card, or tribal card with your signature from a tribe recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs; eligible documents with your current address: an original bill, including account statements, and start of service notifications, dated within 30 days , before or with a due date 30 days before or after the election, a current student fee statement, or a residential lease if valid through election day. Eligible bills are gas, electric, solid waste, water, sewer, phone, cell phone, television, internet provider, credit card or banking services, or bills for rent or mortgage payments. Or one of the following: a yellow receipt for a valid Minnesota driver’s license, Minnesotaa ID card, or permit with your current address; Vouching: the signature of a registered voter who lives in your precinct and personally knows that you live in the precinct. If your witness is registered to vote in the precinct, your witness may vouch for you. This person must complete and sign the voucher form on the back of the voter registration application; a tribal ID card with your name, address, signature, and picture from a tribe recognized by the BIA; a “Notice of Late registration” if you received one from the county auditor or city clerk; if you have moved within your precinct or changed your name, a current registration in the precinct; Vouching for residents of certain residential facilities, the signature of an employee of your residential facility, including nursing home, group homes, battered women’s shelters, homeless shelters, etc. If you are not sure if the residential facility where you live is eligible, call your local election official. The employee must complete and sign the voucher form on the back of the voter registration application.]
Michael Wall: And included in those non-registered voter directions are specifics about what kind of identification can be used to register at the same time. These listed documents are the same that are listed on our website for election-day registration.
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “Can You Track your Ballot?” Text below: You can track the status of your ballot and confirm that it was received and counted with link to the website at mnvotes.org.]
>> Michael Wall: We talked about tracking your ballot. At this point in the process, you can also check in to see, has your ballot been received?
[Slide changes to another slide with the state seal and the following text, “Cancel/Claw Back/Spoil Your Ballot.” Text below: What if I returned my ballot and want to change my vote? You can ask to cancel your ballot until the close of business two weeks before Election Day. After that time, you cannot cancel your ballot. To cancel your ballot, contact the election office that sent your ballot. Your options are to have a new ballot mailed, vote in person at your local election office, or vote at your polling place on Election Day.]
>> Michael Wall: Emily may talk about this, but briefly, if you change your mind after you have submitted your absentee ballot, or if you decide you want to go to the polling place, or if your candidate drops out, and you want to vote for someone else, you can have your ballot taken out of the pile, or the filing system, cancelled, and you have the opportunity to either get a new absentee ballot, or to go to your polling place, but -- big "But," only if you do it up until two weeks before the election day. In 2020, the law allows county elections offices to begin to open ballots and count them two weeks before the election. Once that begins, you cannot spoil your ballot, and you have no other options. And lastly -- no, lastly. I repeated it. So we're done. Nasser, before we turn it over to Emily, do you have anything to add?
>> Nasser Mussa: No, I think this is really very well covered. So, again, the only thing that I want to emphasize is that just to know that the polling places are still open, accessible, if you decide to go to the polling place. We know that not every voter will be using the absentee ballot, so just have confidence in both, whichever option you want to use to vote, you know, it's -- polling places are still accessible, and it's still expected to be similar as any time in the past. In terms of accessibility.
>> Michael Wall: Thank you, Nasser. Emily, what happens when that big white envelope shows up at the county?
[Slide is replaced by a full speaker box with Patty.]
>> Emily Hunt: Michael, and everyone, I did want to ask, I do have some examples with me. Would it be helpful if I went through the envelopes quickly to illustrate what you were speaking about?
>> Michael Wall: Wonderful! Okay. I think Jessalyn's is going to spotlight me. Okay.
[Patty is replaced in the speaker box with Emily. Interpreter is absent. They present in order; ballot, signature envelope, set of blue instructions, tan ballot envelope, and mailing envelope.]
>> Emily Hunt: So if I receive my ballot here, I have my label there. And these are all the materials that Michael was talking about. I have lined paper today. That's my ballot. But I have my signature envelope. And on the signature envelope up here, this is where we put the identifying information. So the I.D. that is unique to the voter and the I.D. that's unique to this ballot. That information will be right up here. It is backwards on the screen I think, but the voter will fill out this top portion, these two boxes, and then the witness at the bottom will fill out this information here. We have -- our set of instructions in Ramsey County that Michael went through for registered voters is on blue paper. So hopefully, you know, this will stand out. It looks different than the rest of the materials in there. We have our yellow or Brown, I suppose some would say, secrecy envelope. And then finally, the envelope that is returned to the county. Now, on the back of the envelope here, this is helpful. There is a checklist for folks. So we encourage you to go through this checklist, and you can make sure you're hitting all of -- you're getting all of these things accomplished, and we're getting everything back in we need from you.
[Emily demonstrates packing the materials: ballot into gold secrecy envelope, which goes into the white signature envelope.]
>> Emily Hunt: So if I were to just pack my materials together, here's my ballot into my gold envelope. I pack this into my signature envelope.
>> Michael Wall: Emily? Pardon me. I think that they're working on getting the interpreter highlighted or seen. So people may need to -- if you could hold off for a second. Jessalyn, let us know when Emily should go and, Emily, I believe they weren't able to see the interpreter during the time you've been talking.
>> Emily Hunt: Okay.
>> Michael Wall: So let's pause for a moment.
>> Emily Hunt: I'll wait.
>> Michael Wall: Thank you.
>> Michael Wall: Jessalyn is asking me if I can do a dual screen. I do not know how to do that. I don't think I have those controls.
[Emily is replaced in the speaker box by Michael.]
>> Michael Wall: Jessalyn, can you just take Emily off being highlighted and just go to the interpreter?
[Michael is replaced in the speaker box by interpreter Patty.]
>> Michael Wall: There we go. So, Emily, if you would like to summarize what you just did, and then you can move on.
>> Emily Hunt: Sure. So I just showed the materials that we -- I'm not sure if anyone can see my video in the gallery view at the top, but just showing the materials, and I think someone had a question in the chat. We will be -- we will be working on creating some videos that will show the process for folks. So straight from opening your ballot and sealing it up and sending it back to us. So if that's helpful. For everyone here. We're working on that very soon. So I will transition then into the topic of when the ballot is sealed and completed. I did want to -- to make a little note here that if there is a need for a correction, if you've made a mistake on your ballot, we would encourage you to call Ramsey County or your elections office regarding that. We -- we just -- just because when folks are counting ballots, sometimes interpretation -- we just want to make sure that you have the opportunity to correct it, and then -- and we can very easily send you a new ballot. But the interest of time, we would want to take care of that for you very quickly. So, yep. You can contact us. Now, when we receive ballots back --
>> Emily, hold on a second. We're actually going to be switching interpreters.
>> Emily Hunt: Sure.
[Patty is replaced in the speaker box by Tarra.]
>> Emily Hunt: Okay, so when we receive the ballots back to our office, the signature envelope is what we're going to be evaluating for completion. And we accept the ballot based on whether the voter has given us the I.D. number, and if they've signed, so we look at the voter's section, and then at the bottom of the signature envelope, we look at the witness section. If the witness has provided their name and a Minnesota street address. A P.O. box is not acceptable. So we need to reject this if a witness did give us a P.O. box. This could be a notary. So we would need a notary's information here. And we would need a notary stamp with the expiration date. So if a notary is the source of this witness, we have to have that in order to accept it. And then finally, the witness needs to sign. So this is a registered voter. Signature envelope. A non-registered voter, they must have included a voter registration applicable, a completed voter registration application. They have to complete the same voter portion of that signature envelope. So their I.D. number, their signature. But then the witness section also includes that they have seen a proof of residence, such as a Minnesota I.D., a tribal I.D., just for a few examples, a bill, a student fee statement, something like that, in order to -- for us to be able to accept this ballot. Now, to be completely honest, we do see a lot of these non-registered ballots for -- for this portion, the proof of residence, if people don't provide that information. We see a lot of those rejected. After we have accepted a ballot, we do use that unique I.D., and we process it in our system. It does -- it does record that in a voter's record. And then as it is recorded, folks could not then go to the polling place or another early voting location to vote. If there's an accepted ballot in the system, it will -- that voter will be stopped. If we -- if we reject a ballot, we immediately send a new ballot and a letter that explains why we needed to reject that ballot to the voter. And if there's -- if there's not enough time, the Friday before an election day, that is a day that we actually call voters. We call voters and make sure that they have other options explained, because we cannot be certain that the postal service will be able to deliver both ways. So in the interest of time, like Michael said, we encourage folks to -- early in the absentee period, to complete the application and turn your ballot back in to us so that we have time. Michael, did you want me to also discuss the storage of the ballots?
>> Michael Wall: If you like. I think because the voter has the chance to cancel their ballot if they have time, it might be interesting for people to know, is it a big pile? How do you find their ballot?
>> Emily Hunt: We don't have a big pile.
[ Laughter ]
We have a very organized system in Ramsey County. And we organize by ward or city. And precinct. All by address. And in our storage, we have a locked room. So no unauthorized visitors to our office can go in this room. We keep them organized in -- in 2016, we had a little over 60,000 organized in this room, and we did frequent audits of all of the ballots. So all of the ballots that should be there, we looked and we reviewed several times, I think about six times, just before the election, before we were able to count all of the ballots. And that process is for voters' sense of security, that we keep everything locked, and we keep an eye on everything at all times, and we also make sure that everything is in order as it should be. And every other -- so in 2020, we have two weeks where folks who are working with the absentee ballot counting can open the ballots and count them. That is for the larger volume that we expect to have this year. And we will be able to manage more easily manage the volume and auditing those balloting throughout the year then with that extra bit of time Normal -- normally, in years unlike 2020, we have seven days, just seven days. So we expect that the law that is in effect through 2020 will return to seven days unless otherwise changed. Permanently.
>> Michael Wall: Thank you. Excellent. You all now know more than your average voter about the process and the behind the scenes of absentee voting. We'll begin to take any questions you have. But I do want to briefly talk about voting for those who have housing challenges. Homelessness, temporarily staying in a shelter, or on a friend's couch. There are laws and processes that allow the homeless to register and to vote. Although I will say that it is challenging. It's possible to register to vote using even an intersection. Because the voter is supposed to put their residence. And if they don't have one, they put the closest location of where they slept the night before. So that may be in a park. Or in a car in a parking lot. When anyone registers to vote, at an address that can't be confirmed, by receiving a postcard from the county, they're challenged, and there's a notation next to their name, on the voting roster. For their precinct. So if that voter showed up to vote at the polling place, they would be required to prove their identity, and their residence, their address, if you will, but without an address, they can use some of the alternatives like vouching, a registered voter who can swear that the person does live in the precinct, or if they're staying at a shelter, a designated shelter employee has a process to vouch for people staying there. So there are options. Once registered, it becomes easier to request an absentee ballot for the homeless because there are community centers and other places that that absentee ballot can be sent if the person is moving from one place to another to find a place to sleep, Catholic Charities runs some of these centers in Minneapolis and St. Paul. So there are options, and we're happy to work with anyone who either is hopeless or is working with the homeless to help you with specifics. I see Ellie's hand up in the participants. I don't know if that's an old hand up or a new hand up. Ellie, do you have something?
>> Ellie: Perfect, perfect. I got the answer. So I appreciate that. Thank you.
>> Nasser Mussa: So I think we are --
>> Ellie: I guess I do have a quick question.
>> Nasser Mussa: Okay, go ahead.
>> Ellie: Again, I want to thank you all. Do we wait until -- oh.
[Tarra is replaced in the speaker box with Ellie.]
>> Ellie: I need to leave right now, but I want to tell you how valuable this time has been. To sit here and observe and watch and learn. And for you to answer the questions and be very thorough in your responses has been amazing. So I love this membership. Thank you so much for cooperating and helping organize this. It's been a great experience. Great job. And I'm glad to be a part of it. I think the last time -- I moved out of state, but before that, the last time was with Wellstone, and I remember, wow, it was tough. And things kept coming up all the time, and I was alone here, and this is great. This is fabulous. So thank you. This is amazing. Great experience and I appreciate it. Thank you for the technology. Thank you for providing this and all that work to put this together. Thank you so much.
[Ellie is replaced in the speaker box by Tarra.]
>> Michael Wall: Thank you. This is Michael Wall. We are at our expected end time. And I don't see any other questions in the chat. So we'll do one more round of, does anyone have any questions?
>> [ Inaudible ]
[Tarra is replaced in the speaker box by Jer.]
>> Jer: Hi, everybody. I'm Jer. And often from my experience, in other situations, when I make a call in, I have to use the video relay service. Some of the people on the other end oftentimes have never had any experience with a video relay service, and end up being awkward and hanging up on me. Is it going to be the effort of your office to inform all those people that if they hear someone speaking and describing the service that you won't hang up? I mean, just a thought.
[Jer is replaced in the speaker box with Tarra.]
>> Michael Wall: Thank you for your question. This is Michael Wall. It's -- I understand that some people don't have VRS experience, although it would surprise me that anyone working in county elections or at our office had not been prepared. I think -- I can speak for Nasser and myself that we'll make sure it's a part of our phone bank training. And we'll speak to the director of elections. And ask that he send out a reminder, not only to our employees, but also through the county elections offices, just to remind those who are new, that VRS calls are a possibility. But the even better news is that we went through a process, although timing made it not possible, for the presidential nomination primary, to hire an ASL speaker to receive video calls from other ASL speakers. So not to need to go through an interpreter, but to have a native speaker training to take questions on elections along with the other people who work our phone bank for us in the weeks before each election. So we're very excited for that to take place. This fall. If not this summer. Nasser may know a little bit more about that. But we are very excited to do this for the first time, and as far as we know, it could be the first time nationally. To have an ASL employee working the phones for elections.
>> Jer: Thank you.
>> I believe Migdalia has a question.
[Tarra is replaced in the speaker box with Migdalia.]
>> Migdalia Rogers: So I'm curious, when everybody applies -- requests an absentee ballot, how long do you end up storing that information? How long are those ballots stored? How long? And how long will it stay within the system?
>> Nasser Mussa: Two years.
[MigdalIa is replaced in the speaker box by Tarra.]
>> Michael Wall: Emily, do you have specific questioners? I know that they are the same as any other ballot storage. But do you have something for this?
>> Emily Hunt: If I understand the question, Migdalia, was it after the election, you're wondering how long we hold onto the ballots? Was that the question? Mm-hmm. So we do keep the secured voted ballots for 22 months. And that's our retention cycle. That's with all of our official documents. So we keep them sealed in the containers that we receive from the polling place, and after that point, 22-month schedule, we shred, we secure-shred everything. And that -- and for a little -- for a little bit more information, we do keep things for that long in case -- in the case of recounts specifically. If we do need to bring all of our ballots out securely and count all of them like 2008.
>> Migdalia Rogers: That's what I was curious about. That's what I wanted to know. Thank you. I was just wondering how long you end up -- so I appreciate it. Thank you.
>> Emily Hunt: Of course.
>> Michael Wall: Jessalyn, would you like to close us out?
[Tarra is replaced in the speaker box by Jessalyn.]
>> Jessalyn Akerman-Frank: Sure. Let me change it here. Well, thank you, everyone, for your participation. I really appreciate the interpreter, the CART service provider, and Michael Wall, Nasser Mussa, and also Secretary of State Simon, also Emily, and a friendly reminder to all, we'll post this and have this all done with the transcript for our deafblind community. Additionally, we do have other registrations going on in the indigenous communities, the Spanish communities, and participants. So we have different groups that we're going to be reaching out to and working with this. So this is really just the start of our efforts. We do have several more workshops on how to put in your application, how to fill it out, and so we want to host these others, and we're inviting you, and we'll send out information. So thanks to the Secretary of State and your cooperation. And the office that has worked so hard to hire deaf for answering the calls on video and creating the fact sheet to present in ASL. I mean, that's a lot of hard work to make it fully accessible for our community. So we're forever grateful to you and taking -- taking this time, almost three hours, I really do appreciate it. So that's all I have as we close. Have a wonderful day and take care of yourselves.
>> Thank you. Thank you.
>> Bye now.