ACLU-MN Voting 101

Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest. The ACLU of Minnesota is working to protect and expand Minnesotansʼ freedom to vote.

Browse the topics below to learn about how you can exercise your power this election season. 

URGENT UPDATE: Due to a recent court ruling, please do not mail your absentee ballot. It won't arrive by Election Day. Either drop it off at an elections office or plan to vote in person. If you recently mailed an absentee ballot, please track your ballot. If it hasn't arrived yet, please plan to vote early in person or Election Day. 

Voter Registration

You must be registered to vote in order to cast your ballot in Minnesota. We urge all voters to register to vote early, but voters may also register in person on Election Day.

Register to Vote in Person

If you haven't registered yet, don't worry. You can still register in person at your polling place when you go to vote, whether you vote early or on Election Day. If you register in person, you must provide ID and proof of Minnesota residence. Check the list of accepted forms of ID and proof of residence to make sure you're prepared before you go.


Check Your Registration Status

Not sure if you're registered to vote? Check your registration status to make sure you're prepared to be a voter.

That way, whether you vote early in person, or on Election Day, you'll be confident and prepared.

Check Your Registration Status


There Are Three Ways to Be A Voter This Election Season

Minnesota voters have multiple ways to exercise our power this election season, so there's no excuse not to be a voter. Learn how below.

1. Vote by Absentee Ballot

At this point, it's too late to mail your absentee ballot. Instead, please drop off your sealed ballot at your county elections office or other official drop-off location.

Absentee ballots must be dropped off by Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 3 p.m. Absentee ballots cannot be returned to your polling place; they must be returned to your county elections office or to another designated drop-off location.

2. Vote Early in Person

Voters who choose to cast their ballot in person are urged to vote early at their local elections office through Monday, Nov. 2. Find your county elections office here.

Some voters living in more densely populated regions of the state may have access to other early voting locations. To see all the early voting locations in your area, click here.

Vote Early in Person

3. Vote in Person on Election Day

You can still vote in person on Election Day, on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

People who still have their absentee ballots can vote at their regular polling place. Just do not mail the absentee ballot or drop it off. Instead, show up at your polling place and ask to "spoil" your absentee ballot.

Find your polling place


What You Need to Know to Vote In Person

While more Minnesota voters than ever will vote absentee by mail this election season, many are still planning to vote in person either early or on Election Day. If you're planning to vote in person, here's what you need to know before you go:

  • Check your voter registration status online. 
  • Find your polling place. 
  • Bring accepted ID and proof of resident IF you need to register in person on Election Day.
  • Remember to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
  • If the polls close while you're still in line, STAY IN LINE. You have the right to vote.

More Voting Tips

  • Remember to check your voter registration status before you vote. Be confident that you're ready to be a voter when you head to the polls.

  • Public health officials recommend that you do not lick your ballot envelope to seal it, but instead use a wet sponge or cloth to dampen the adhesive.

  • If you make a mistake on your ballot, ask for a new one. 

  • If the machines are down at your polling place, ask for a paper ballot. 

More Voting Links and Resources

  • Find your county election office here. This is where you can vote early or drop off your absentee ballot.

  • If you have a felony conviction and have finished your probation or supervision, you are likely eligible to vote in this election season in Minnesota. Click this link to learn more about voting with a felony conviction.

  • To learn more about your voting rights, visit our Know Your Voting Rights page.

  • If you have problems voting or have additional questions, please call the national, non-partisan Election Protection hotline:

    • English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)

    • Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682)

    • Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US (1-844-925-5287)

    • Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese: 1-888-274-8683

Our Fight to Expand Voter Access 

We are fighting in the courtroom to increase voting access for every Minnesotan. 

We filed a lawsuit to ask the state of Minnesota to mail absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in the state. The Minnesota Secretary of State has agreed to our request. Getting a ballot application in the mail, versus having to go online, will help lots of people — including nearly a quarter of Minnesotans without internet access.


It was a crime to help more than three voters cast their ballots in Minnesota, which disproportionately affected immigrants and people with disabilities. Helping a voter who has difficulty seeing or reading a ballot should not be a crime. We sued, and now people who have difficulty reading or seeing a ballot can bring the person of their choice to help them. 

Thao v. Minnesota Secretary of State

We listened to Minnesotans' concern about the in-person witness requirement on absentee ballots due to COVID-19. We sued, and now the witness requirement is waived for the November 2020 General Election. 


We will keep fighting to expand voting rights to more than 53,000 Minnesotans who are living and working in their communities, raising families and paying taxes, yet aren’t allowed to decide who will represent them. Everybody deserves a second chance.