Voting is more than a civic duty — it's a vital part of a democratic society. The ACLU of Minnesota works to protect your right to vote. We do this by protecting the victories made since the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which helped protect the political participation of racial and language minorities in our national dialogue.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AT THE POLLS! DOWNLOAD OR PRINT A FREE KNOW YOUR VOTING RIGHTS GUIDE TODAY!

Print a Know Your Voting Rights at the Poll card here. 

QUICK TIPS FOR VOTERS

  • Check your voter registration status by calling 877-600-VOTE (877-600-8683) or going to: mnvotes.org
  • Locate your polling place and check the hours of operation by calling 877-600-VOTE (877-600-8683) or going to mnvotes.org
  • Consider voting absentee if you can. If you plan to vote at the polls, go early that day to avoid the last-minute rush.

  • You can register and vote on Election Day, as long as you bring a document that proves you live in the precinct where you are voting. If you’ve registered before Election Day, you do NOT need to bring proof of residency to vote.
  • Read all instructions carefully and ask for help if you need it.
  • Take your time. However, note that election judges are allowed to tell you how long you may spend in the voting booth.

WATCH OUR EXPERTS TALK VOTING RIGHTS

 

How do I register to vote?

A.How do I register to vote?

How and where do I vote on Election Day?

A.How and where do I vote on Election Day?

A.

To be eligible to vote, you have to meet all of the following qualifications:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen; 
  2. Be at least 18 years old on Election Day; 
  3. Lived in Minnesota for 20 days immediately before the election; 
  4. Not currently serving a sentence for a felony (i.e. you are not in prison, or on probation or supervision for a felony); 
  5. Not under court-ordered guardianship where a court has revoked your voting rights; and 
  6. Not been ruled legally incompetent by a court. 

Where Do I Vote?

  • On Election Day, you have to vote at your assigned polling place.
  • Your county may send you information listing your assigned polling place. You can also call 877-600-VOTE or go to http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/.

 

Can I vote before Election Day?

A.Can I vote before Election Day?

A.

Your rights

If you cannot vote in person on Election Day, you can vote early in person, or mail in or drop off an absentee vote.

What to do

Learn about your options to exercise absentee or early voting in your state.

Keep in mind that the deadline to request an absentee ballot is before Election Day. If you plan to mail a ballot, allow enough time for it to arrive before Election Day.

What are my general rights on Election Day?

A.What are my general rights on Election Day?

A.

Your rights

If the polls close while you’re still in line, stay in line – you have the right to vote.

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.

If you run into any problems or have questions on Election Day, call the 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

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

Do I have to show ID?

A.Do I have to show ID?

A.
  • Probably not. Most voters won’t need to show ID. You may be asked to show ID if you registered by mail, didn’t provide ID when you registered or this is your first time voting in a federal election in Minnesota. 
  • If you’re registering and voting at the same time, you will need to show proof that you live in the precinct. Accepted proofs of residency include a valid: 
  1. Minnesota driver’s license, learner’s permit, Minnesota ID card or receipt; 
  2. Student ID card, including your photo if your college has provided a student housing list to election officials; 
  3. A Tribal ID card with your picture, signature and address;  
  4. Voter registration in the same precinct under a different name or address;  
  5. A notice of late registration sent to you by your county auditor or city clerk; 
  6. A voter registered in the same precinct as you who can confirm your address by vouching for you and signing a statement; 
  7. An employee of the residential facility where you live (this includes a shelter, residential alcohol treatment program, veterans home, nursing home, assisted living, etc.) who can confirm your address by signing an oath; 
  8. Or both: an expired Minnesota or federal photo ID (like a driver’s license or a passport) AND a current utility bill (like a phone bill) dated within 30 days of Election Day with your current name and address in the precinct.  

When are the polls open? What if I'm in line when the polls close?

A.When are the polls open? What if I'm in line when the polls close?

A.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you are in line when the polls close, don’t leave -- you have the right to vote.

Can I get time off from work to vote?

A.Can I get time off from work to vote?

A.

Yes. You have the right to take time to go to your polling place, vote and return to work on Election Day. Your employer is not allowed to punish you for it.  

What if I go to the wrong polling place?

A.What if I go to the wrong polling place?

A.
  • Ask an election judge to help you find the polling place where you’re registered. You can also call 877-600-VOTE or look up your polling place at http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/
  • If you can’t figure out where you’re registered, go the polling place that you think is most likely to be the right one and ask for a registration application. 

What if I’m not on the voter list?

A. What if I’m not on the voter list?

A.

Your rights

Voters are entitled to a provisional ballot, even if they aren’t in the poll book.

After Election Day, election officials must investigate whether you are qualified to vote and registered. If you are qualified and registered, they will count your provisional ballot.

What to do

Ask the poll worker to double-check for your name on the list of registered voters. Make sure to spell your name out for the poll worker.

If your name is not on the list, ask if there is a supplemental list of voters.

If the poll worker still cannot find your name, confirm that you are at the correct polling place:

Request that the poll workers check a statewide system (if one is available) to see if you are registered to vote at a different polling place.

If the poll worker does not have access to a statewide system, ask them to call the main election office.

You can also call 1-866-OUR-VOTE and ask for help verifying your proper polling place.

If you are registered at a different location, in most instances you will have to travel to that location to cast a regular ballot.

If the poll worker still cannot find your name or if you cannot travel to the correct polling place, ask for a provisional ballot.

Additional information

If you are turned away or denied a provisional ballot, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español).

Report your experience to local election officials.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot or the voting machine malfunctions?

A.What if I make a mistake on my ballot or the voting machine malfunctions?

A.

Tell a poll worker before you cast your vote. If you make a mistake on a ballot, you have the right to a replacement ballot. 

What if I am a voter with a disability?

A.What if I am a voter with a disability?

A.
  • Under federal law, all polling places for federal elections must be fully accessible to older adults and voters with disabilities. Simply allowing curbside voting is not enough to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements.
  • If you find out before Election Day that your polling place is not accessible, contact your county auditor right away and ask for accommodation. You have the right to an accessible polling place and voting machine. Or you can request an absentee ballot. 

What to do

  • Send someone into the polling place to request curbside voting for you. Election judges will bring a ballot out. 
  • Ask an election judge for help or to bring someone to assist you. You have the right to have anyone assist you who is not your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your labor union. 
  • If you bring a person to assist you, let the poll workers know that when you check-in. They may ask you to swear under oath that you have a disability and that you have asked that person to help you. Your helper may also be required to sign a form swearing that they did not tell you how to vote.
  • If there are long lines and you have a physical or mental health condition or disability that makes it difficult for you to stand in line, tell a poll worker.
  • Tell election officials what you need. For example, if it’s hard for you to stand, they should provide you with a chair or a place to sit while you wait. If the crowds or noise are hard for you, election officials can find a quiet place for you to wait and call you when it’s your turn to vote.
  • If you are not able to enter your polling place because the pathway to it is not fully accessible, ask poll workers for curbside assistance. Also call 1-866-OUR-VOTE to report the issue.
  • If you have difficulty using the materials provided to make your ballot selections, review, or cast your ballot, let a poll worker know and ask for the help you need. Accessibility is the law.
  • A voter with a mental disability cannot be turned away from the polls because a poll worker thinks they are not ‘qualified’ to vote.
  • If you face any challenges in voting privately and independently or are unable to cast your vote, report the problem to the Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Trained attorneys can assist you and make sure that other voters do not experience the same problem.

Additional information

What if I need help in the voting booth because English isn't my native language?

A.What if I need help in the voting booth because English isn't my native language?

A.

Your rights

Under federal law, voters who have difficulty reading or writing English may receive in-person assistance at the polls from the person of their choice. This person cannot be the voter’s employer, an agent of the voter’s employer, or an agent or officer of the voter’s union.

Counties covered by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act are required to provide bilingual assistance to voters in specific languages. This means that they must provide poll workers who speak certain languages, and make all election materials and election-related information available in those languages. Check whether your county is required to provide bilingual election assistance in a language you speak.

What to do

You can bring a family member, friend, or other person of your choice to assist you at the polls. Do not bring your employer, or an agent of your employer or union.

If you live in a county that’s required to provide bilingual voting assistance for a language you speak, you can request oral assistance from a bilingual poll worker and ask for voting materials, such as a ballot, in that language.

If you have trouble voting due to lack of English fluency, call one of these hotlines:

Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA / 1-888-839-8682

Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US / 1-844-925-5287

English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE / 1-866-687-8683.

Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Vietnamese): 1-888-API-VOTE / 1-888-274-8683

Can I get a ballot in my native language?

A.Can I get a ballot in my native language?

A.
  • Minnesota voters can have access to election materials in English, Hmong, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Lao, Oromo, Amharic and Karen. 
  • Tell a poll worker you want assistance in one of these languages if it is not offered to you. 
  • You have the right to bring an interpreter or to get assistance in your language from anyone you choose, including a poll worker, as long as the person is not your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your union.  

What if I’m a student?

A.What if I’m a student?

A.

You can register to vote at whatever address you consider your primary residence, your school address or home address.  

What if I’ve moved or changed my name?

A.What if I’ve moved or changed my name?

A.
  • Re-register every time you move or change your name. 
  • If you did not have time to update your registration,  you can still register and vote early in person or on Election Day. 

What if I’m homeless?

A.What if I’m homeless?

A.
  • You don’t need a home to vote. If you want to pre-register, list where you usually stay or sleep, like a shelter, park bench or any place you return to regularly. If you can’t receive mail there, the election judge will ask some questions when you go to vote. Once you sign a statement saying that you’re eligible, you’ll be able to vote. 
  • If want to register and vote on Election Day and you stay in a shelter, bring someone who works there with you. They will sign a statement confirming you stay at the shelter. 

What if I’ve been convicted of a crime?

A.What if I’ve been convicted of a crime?

A.
  • If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you can vote, even if you are in jail. 
  • If you were convicted of a felony, you can vote once you complete your entire sentence, including probation or parole. Once that is complete, make sure you register to vote.   
  • Learn more here: https://www.aclu-mn.org/en/reclaim-vote-voting-felony-conviction

What if someone challenges my right to vote?

A.What if someone challenges my right to vote?

A.
  • Your right to vote may be challenged if an election judge, a person designated by a political party or another voter believes that you are not eligible to vote. 
  • If this happens, an election judge will ask questions to see if you are eligible to vote. If your answers show you are, you’ll sign a form and then can vote. If the judge determines that you are not eligible, you won’t be allowed to vote. 
  • If you refuse to answer the questions or sign the form, you won’t be allowed to vote even if you leave and return later because you changed your mind. 

What if someone interferes with my right to vote?

A.What if someone interferes with my right to vote?

A.

It’s illegal to intimidate voters and a federal crime to “intimidate, threaten, [or] coerce … any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of [that] other person to vote or to vote as he may choose.”

Examples of voter intimidation

  • Aggressively questioning voters about their citizenship, criminal record, or other qualifications to vote.
  • Falsely representing oneself as an elections official.
  • Displaying false or misleading signs about voter fraud and related criminal penalties.
  • Other forms of harassment, particularly harassment targeting non-English speakers and voters of color.
  • Spreading false information about voter requirements.
  • You do not need to speak English to vote, in any state.
  • You do not need to pass a test to vote, in any state.
  • Some states do not require voters to present photo identification.

What to do if you experience voter intimidation

  • In many states, you can give a sworn statement to the poll worker that you satisfy the qualifications to vote in your state, and then proceed to cast a ballot.
  • Tell a poll worker right away. If the poll worker is the problem, tell a poll watcher if one is there, call your local election official, or call one of the numbers listed below.  
  • It’s a crime to knowingly deceive another person about the time, place or manner of conducting an election, or the qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility. Notify your local election official if you suspect that someone has tried to deceive you. 

Report intimidation to the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español).

Report intimidation to your local election officials. Their offices will be open on Election Day.

How do I make a complaint?

A.How do I make a complaint?

A.
  • Ask for an election judge at your polling place. Candidates, political parties and nonprofit groups may have poll watchers outside.  If any of these people ask you who you voted for or cannot help, call your local election official or the Minnesota Secretary of State. 
  • Call one of the hotlines below. 
  • File a petition with a state Supreme Court judge describing the wrongful act and the correction you want as a result of your complaint.  

  • Minnesota Secretary of State: (877) 600-8683 or www.mnvotes.org 
  • Election Protection Hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE (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, Vietnamese): 1-888-API-VOTE / 1-888-274-8683