Early voting begins – sample ballots now available

Early voting for the November 7 City elections began September 22. All voters in Minneapolis can choose to vote early. Voting absentee can be done in person at the Early Vote Center, 217 S. Third St., or entirely by mail. If a voter chooses to vote early in person, that can be done now during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours including weekends in the final days before Election Day.

To vote by mail, voters may request a ballot now. Requested ballots will be mailed out and include everything a voter needs to send back the completed ballot. Visit vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/absentee for ballot applications in multiple languages that can be printed out and mailed in to request a ballot.

Minneapolis voters can now see exactly what their ballots will look like in the November 7 election. Sample ballots for each precinct are available online, and voters can use them to prepare to vote.

To see a sample ballot, go to vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/ballot. A link there connects to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s ballot lookup tool. Any Minneapolis voter can enter an address in the lookup tool to see the sample ballot for that address’ precinct and print it for reference. Candidates are listed in different orders on the ballot in different precincts.

Because this election will use ranked-choice voting, voters are encouraged to download their sample ballots to prepare for Election Day. That way they can review the candidates ahead of time and rank their top three choices. State law permits voters to take marked sample ballots to the polls on Election Day and use them as guides to complete their official ballots.

In the mayor’s race, 16 candidates will appear on the ballot. All City Council offices will also be on the ballot. Every ballot across the city will feature two other citywide contests: one for two at-large seats on the Board of Estimate and Taxation, and one for three at-large seats on the Park and Recreation Board. Each ballot will also have its Park and Recreation Board district candidates.

You can register to vote on Election Day. But you can preregister – October 17 is the deadline for pre-registering in 2017. Voter registrations can be submitted any time and can help ensure a smoother Election Day experience for voters: less time waiting in lines and no need to bring documents on Election Day.

This election uses ranked-choice voting. Minneapolis voters will use ranked-choice voting this fall to elect a mayor and members of the City Council, Board of Estimate and Taxation, and Park and Recreation Board. Ranked-choice voting is a way of voting that eliminates the need for separate primary elections. Voters rank up to three candidates for each office. The ballot has three columns, and choices are made from left to right in those columns. Ranked-choice voting is used only for municipal elections in Minneapolis. More information on ranked-choice voting is available at vote.minneapolismn.gov/rcv.

The City has an elections-focused website: vote.minneapolismn.gov. This website is a central place to go for accurate, timely information about this year’s election and ranked-choice voting. The fresh, intuitive design is focused on the user; content on the site is structured around specific audiences such as voters, candidates, volunteers and students.