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What you need to know on Election Day

November 7, 2018

Tuesday is Election Day, sending voters to the polls to cast their ballots in federal, state and local elections.

There’s plenty at stake. Minnesota voters will be electing a governor, two U.S. senators and all 134 members of the Minnesota House. There’s also plenty of city council, school board and county board seats up for grabs, along with sheriff and county attorney races.

Below is some key information for voters to know before they head to the polls.

How long are the polls open? Most polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

How do I find my polling place? You can go the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website at mnvotesinfo.sos.state.mn.us and enter your address to find your polling place. At the same website, you also can download a sample election ballot.

Can I get a ride to the polls? You can in Rochester. The city’s bus service is offering voters free rides to and from their assigned polling place. Just let the driver know the trip is being made to vote. The city bus service provides stops near many, but not all, polling places. A table listing each polling place and the RPT routes that serve them is on the Rochester Public Transit website at www.rptride.com.

What if accessibility is a concern at the polling site? Several options exist to providehelp when voting. You can bring someone to assist you, ask an election judge, use a machine to help you mark your ballot or vote from your vehicle by requesting a ballot be brought to you.

Is campaigning allowed at the polls? No one is allowed to campaign inside the polling place or within 100 feet of the building where polling is taking place. If the polling place is on public property, no one can campaign anywhere on the property, even beyond 100 feet, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website. However, the prohibition of signs and campaign materials within 100 feet does not apply to adjacent private property.

The restriction extends to attire. Campaign T-shirts and buttons related to specific candidates, official political parties or ballot questions need to be covered up or removed while in the polling place.

Do I need to bring ID to vote? If your voter registration is up to date, you do not need to show identification. Up to date means you successfully registered at least 21 days before Election Day and have not moved or changed names since then.

If you need to register or update your registration, or if you have not voted in four or more years, you will need proof of residence to vote.

How do I know if I’m registered to vote? You can find out by going to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website and entering in some biographical details.

Can I register to vote at the polls? Yes, you will need to bring some sort of identification to prove residency. That could include a Minnesota driver’s license, Minnesota ID card, Minnesota learner’s permit or Tribal card with your current address. If the address on your ID is outdated, bring the photo ID and a document, such as a utility or credit card bill, that shows your current address. Another option is to have a registered voter from your precinct go with you to your polling place and sign an oath confirming your address.

What if I make a mistake? Ballots are filled out with a pen or pencil, and the oval next to your candidate of choice should be filled in completely. If you make an error, you have the right to ask an election judge for a replacement ballot.

What about absentee voting? In order for an absentee ballot to be counted, it must be received by county election officials by 3 p.m. on Election Day. Want to check the status of your absentee ballot? Go to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, and use the absentee tracking tool on the site.

Where can I find out the election results? After the polls close at 8 p.m., the election results will start trickling in. PostBulletin.com will be continually updated as election results come in. Olmsted County plans to list results for its races on its website, co.olmsted.mn.us, and the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website is another place to keep track. In addition, Post Bulletin reporters will be posting election updates late into the night on Twitter with the hashtag #pbelex. Also check Postbulletin.com for stories about the key races and complete coverage of the election in Wednesday’s print edition.

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