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How to Vote If...
Minnesota law provides for specific options for voting in different situations. Click below if any of these apply to you.
I am a student
If you are a Minnesota student, Minnesota may be your home state or you may have moved from another state. We address commonly asked questions that we know students encounter below.
What is my voting residence?
You should register to vote from the address you currently consider home; this is often either a school address or a parent/guardian's home. If you still go back to visit but no longer consider it your home, then you should register to vote where you live while attending school.
If you moved to Minnesota from another state and currently consider Minnesota your home, you can vote here even if you pay out-of-state tuition or have a driver’s license from another state.
If you do not consider your address while attending school to be your home, you can apply to vote by mail from the address you do consider your home. If your home address is in Minnesota, you can apply online for an absentee ballot; otherwise, visit your home state’s election website for instructions on how to vote absentee according to that state's laws.
Can I register to vote in both my home state and my school's state?
No, you should register and vote only in one state. You may choose which state by which address you consider your home.
If I register to vote in Minnesota and am from another state, must I update my ID card to Minnesota?
No, you are not required to update your ID card to Minnesota in order to be a registered voter here.
I'm not from Minnesota, but I must have a Minnesota address registered with my school to qualify for my financial aid. Will registering to vote and voting in my home state affect anything related to residency or financial aid at my school?
It may. You should check with your school's administration and financial aid office to see what they would advise you to do.
I fear for my safety
Voters' names and addresses are public when they register to vote. However, if they have safety or privacy concerns, there are ways to register and vote without their information becoming public.
Safe at Home address confidentiality program
To be eligible to join Safe at Home, you must:
- Reside in Minnesota.
- Complete a statement that you are afraid for your safety or the safety of another person who lives with you.
- You can keep your information private by sending a Request to Withhold Voter Information from Public Information form (PDF) to Ramsey County Elections. Your name and address will still appear on the list of voters at the polling place but will not be available to the public.
- You can send a Request to Inactivate Voter Record form (PDF) to Ramsey County Elections. This will prevent election officials from seeing the information in the private voter database unless specifically looking for your record. Once election officials inactivate a voter's record, you must re-register before voting again.
- You can register again on Election Day, keeping your information private and inactivating your record in one step. You may bring copies of both the above mentioned forms to attach to your registration application. Your information will be entered in the state’s voter database after the election but will be marked as private.
I am homeless
If you are experiencing homelessness, you can register to vote using the location where you sleep as your address; this could be a shelter, a friend’s house or outside somewhere.
Registering before Election Day
If you sleep outside, you can write a description on your voter registration application; for example, “NW corner of Rice St. & University Ave.” If you have a phone number or email, you can provide them in case we have questions about where you live.
If you register before Election Day at an outdoor location, your voter record will be marked “challenged” because the county could not mail you a verification card. You will still be able to vote at your polling place, but you will be asked to swear under oath that you are living at that location. If you are staying at a shelter or residence where you can receive mail, you may not receive a challenge notification if the county can verify that address.
Registering on Election Day
If you are not registered by Election Day, you must complete the registration process. Individuals staying in shelter or at a friend's home may use any of the proof of residence options.
If you are unsheltered and are not registered in the precinct in which you live, you may bring a voter who lives in the same precinct to vouch for your residence. This person does not need to be a friend or acquaintance; they just need to be able to confirm that you live in that location. If you were previously registered in the same precinct and your name can be found in the precinct's roster, you may use a method known as "prior registration in the precinct" as your proof of residence.
I have a criminal record
A criminal record does not affect your right to vote in Minnesota unless you are currently serving a felony sentence, including probation, parole or supervised release in any state. If you are currently serving a felony sentence, as soon as you are “off-paper," you can vote. If you are unsure about your record, you may talk to your probation officer/agent or call the Minnesota Department of Corrections at 651-361-7200 and speak with the records department.
You can vote if...
- You were charged with or convicted of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor.
- You have been charged with a felony, but have not been convicted.
- You have been given a stay of adjudication.
- You are finished with all parts of your felony sentence.
- You are in jail but are not currently serving a felony sentence.
You cannot vote if...
- You are currently serving a felony sentence.
- Your stay of adjudication was revoked and you are currently serving a felony sentence.
I am under guardianship
As long as a judge did not restrict your right to vote through court order, you have the right to vote when:
- You are under guardianship.
- You are under conservatorship.
- You gave someone power of attorney.
- You have a brain injury.
- You have a developmental disability.
- You have a cognitive impairment.
- You have experienced memory loss.
No one else can make this decision on your behalf, including a spouse, children, attorneys, caregivers, doctors or nurses.