Minnesota’s Secretary of State Steve Simon is sending letters telling those who haven’t requested an absentee ballot to vote from home. An estimated 2.3 million voters will receive the letter and an absentee ballot application.
The letter asserts that staying safe and keeping other citizens healthy “means voting from home.”
“During a pandemic, we have to view this election as a public health challenge. In a normal year, the appeal of voting from home is a comfort and a convenience,” Simon stated in the press release. “But this year, it’s also a public service – because every person who votes from home is making the polling place a little bit safer for voters who need or prefer to vote in person. This mailing is all about making sure Minnesota voters know that voting from home is easy, safe, and secure.”
The United States Postal Service (USPS) sent a letter in May warning election officials nationwide that the surge of mail-in ballots surrounding election dates may result in delayed deliveries impacting voting deadlines.
“[T]he Postal Service cannot guarantee a specific delivery date or alter standards to comport with individual state election laws.”
The USPS also suggested voters be made aware of transit times and given mail-in deadlines to ensure timely ballot deliveries. Since then, critics have blamed USPS policy changes to untimely mail delivery and argued the delays are a conspiracy to undermine fair elections.
Simon advocated for statewide vote by mail earlier this year, as well as limiting the amount and accessibility of in-person polling locations. Governor Tim Walz opted not to switch the state to total mail-in voting.
Minnesota election law no longer requires notarization on absentee ballots, based on the recent ruling issued by Ramsey County District Judge Sara Grewing last month. The ruling raised concern due to the state’s history of voter fraud. The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) discovered up to 26,000 ineligible voters appeared on the state’s registered voter list in 2016.
The secretary of state’s office reports that more than 926,000 Minnesotans have requested absentee ballots thus far.
Absentee voting began Friday, September 18 and will last until November 3, Election Day. Minnesotans have the option to track their absentee ballot online.
Absentee ballots are returnable by mail if postmarked by Election Day, or in person to county elections offices up until 3 p.m on Election Day. Voters may also request for an “agent delivery” of their ballot, under special circumstances.
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