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. During the General Election on Nov. 5, you get to decide on races that can include your city or town leaders, ballot issues and school boards. 

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

If you have an absentee ballot out, mail it as soon as possible.

man voting

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 by the day you go to vote, 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


protest voting

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 Early in Person

Voters who choose to cast their ballot in person are urged to vote early at their local elections office from September 20 through Monday, Nov. 4. Some voters living in more densely populated regions of the state may have access to other early voting locations. Find your county elections office and other early voting locations here.

Vote Early in Person

2. Vote in Person on Election Day

You can still vote in person on Election Day, on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

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

3. Vote by Absentee Ballot

Request an absentee ballot application. The state will send you the application, which you can mail or drop off, and then the state will mail you your ballot. 

Absentee ballots must be dropped off or received in the mail by 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5. Return them to your county elections office or to another designated drop-off location.


What You Need to Know to Vote In Person

While many Minnesotans 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 residence 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 you’re living in the community, you can vote this election season in Minnesota. A new law restored the right to vote for people on  felony probation or parole. 

  • 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. 

Over the past few years, the ACLU of Minnesota helped expand voting rights for people with disabilities or language barriers, made it safer for people to vote during the pandemic, and now is fighting a case before the state Supreme Court. 

Before, 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 voting in person during the COVID-19 crisis. We sued, and the Minnesota Secretary of State granted our request to mail 2.2 million absentee ballot applications for the November 2020 election. Every time we can help someone become a voter, that’s a victory for civil liberties. 


We appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court 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. The court ruled that the Legislature had the power to change the law so people on felony probation or parole can vote, and the Legislature passed Restore the Vote in 2023. Everybody deserves a second chance.