This year the Otter Tail County Auditor’s Office has been asked many questions about voting. The pandemic has given rise to new precautions at polling places and questions about alternatives to voting in person. Minnesota has several options available for those who choose not to vote in person at a polling place on Nov. 3.
Vote early in person
People can cast an absentee ballot at their local election’s office starting 46 days before Election Day or on Sept. 18. In Otter Tail County, to vote early in person, people may visit the Otter Tail County Government Services Center (GSC) at 510 W. Fir Ave., in Fergus Falls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or the last Saturday before Election Day, Oct. 31, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the day before Election Day, Nov. 2, until 5 p.m.
Vote early by mail
People can also apply to have an absentee ballot sent to them in the mail. When returning the ballot by mail it must be postmarked on or before Election Day, Nov. 3, and received by the county within the next seven calendar days, Nov. 10. Return the ballot by mail or package delivery service such as FedEx or UPS. Voters can also return their ballot in person no later than 3 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3 to the election office that sent the ballot. Do not drop the ballot off at the polling place on Election Day.
1. Complete an absentee ballot application any time during the year at mnvotes.org or download the paper absentee ballot application from the same site and mail or email to the auditor’s office. Election officials will send voting materials once ballots are available.
2. Read the instructions that come with the ballot carefully! It will not count if all the forms aren’t completed.
3. Due to COVID-19, there is no witness requirement for registered voters for the Nov. 3, election. Nonregistered voters will still need a witness, to indicate their proof of residence.
4. If people aren’t registered to vote they will get a registration application in their materials. To register, show the witness one of the identification options listed in the instructions. The witness must mark which ID was shown to them on the signature envelope.
It is strongly encouraged to submit absentee ballot applications as early as possible to allow adequate time for processing the application and for people to return their voted absentee ballot.
Track your ballot
All absentee ballots that are received on time and had the forms filled out correctly will be counted. Visit mnvotes.org to track the status of ballots and confirm that it was received and counted.
Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State mnvotes.org or 1-877-600-VOTE.
Otter Tail County Webpage: ottertailcountymn.us/elections/.
Otter Tail County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office
Government Services Center
510 W. Fir Ave.
Fergus Falls, MN 56537