Vote Before Election Day
Vote by mail
Submit your completed absentee ballot application in person, by mail, email or fax it to our office.
Receiving your absentee ballot
- If you apply before absentee voting begins, your ballot will be mailed to you 46 days prior to the election.
- If you apply within 46 days of the election, your ballot will be mailed to you within one business day of your application being received.
Returning your voted absentee ballot
Voted ballots must be received on or before Election Day. Return your voted ballot by mail or in person.
Return by mail
Mail your ballot back in the pre-paid, pre-addressed envelope that was provided with your ballot materials.
- Ballot must be received on or before Election Day.
- In Minnesota, mail generally arrives in 1-3 days.
- Outside Minnesota, mail generally arrives in 3-10 days.
- If you don't think your ballot will be received in time using regular mail, you may choose to pay for an express delivery service. Ballots can be received from an express delivery service until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Return in person
You may return your ballot in person to Ramsey County Elections or your city clerk (except in the cities of St Paul, Falcon Heights, Spring Lake Park and Gem Lake) by 3:00 p.m. on Election Day.
Note: Persons delivering ballots may do so for only three voters in each election.
If you would like to automatically receive an application for an absentee ballot before each election, you may complete an application to automatically receive absentee ballot applications (PDF).
Military and overseas voters
Military and overseas voters can use a special process to get and return their ballot. Read the eligibility rules below before you apply. A spouse, parent, sibling or child age 18 and over can apply for you.
Apply for your ballot as soon as you can. Estimated transit times are listed below. Times can vary due to unforeseen events or weather issues.
- Mail sent to/from Europe usually takes one week each way.
- Mail send to/from East Asia usually tales 7-10 days each way.
- Mail send to/from Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and Latin America can take up to four weeks each way.
- Uniformed or military personnel and their dependents.
- Citizens overseas temporarily.
- Citizens overseas indefinitely (not eligible to vote in state or local elections).
Apply for your ballot
- Download a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if you are concerned that you do not have enough time to send a regular absentee ballot.
- For federal offices, you may indicate your choice by writing in a candidate name or political party.
- For state or local offices on the FWAB, you must write the name of the candidate (not just the party) for your vote to be counted.
Receiving your ballot
You can receive the ballot by email, fax or mail. You will need to indicate on your application how you would like to receive the ballot.
Ballots are sent out by election officials at least 45 days prior to the election. When applications are received fewer than 45 days before the election, ballots are sent within one business day of receiving them.
Ballots sent by mail are airmailed to addresses outside the continental U.S. Your ballot will be sent to you by an express mail service if you provide a prepaid envelope to the county auditor’s office.
Submit your voted ballot
Regardless of how you received the ballot, you must return your voted ballot by mail or package delivery to the election office the ballot was received from. Ballots delivered by mail or package delivery service will be accepted until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
Your ballot will not be counted if it is received after Election Day.
Vote by agent
Voters may authorize an individual (agent) to pick up and return an absentee ballot for them. This service is available only within the seven days preceding an election.
Each agent is allowed to deliver and return ballots for a maximum of three voters.
You can cast an absentee vote by agent if you are a:
- Patient in a hospital, residential treatment center or nursing home.
- Resident of a group home.
- Resident of a battered women's shelter.
- Resident of an assisted living facility.
- Disabled voter.
- Voter who would have difficulty getting to the polls because of incapacitating health reasons.
How to vote by agent
- Choose someone to be your agent who:
- Has a pre-existing relationship with you.
- Is at least 18 years old.
- Is not a candidate in the election.
- Complete both of the following:
- Have your agent bring the completed forms to Ramsey County Elections (or to your local clerk) to pick up your ballot.
- Your agent can pick up a ballot until 2 p.m. on Election Day.
- Your agent will be given your ballot and envelopes to bring to you.
- Vote your ballot and complete materials according to the enclosed instructions.
- Have your agent return your voted ballot to the office where they picked it up.
- Your agent must show an ID with name and signature.
- Voted ballots must be returned by 3 p.m. on Election Day to be counted.