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Absentee Voting for Aug. 14 Primary is Underway

Residents who are expecting to be out of their voting precinct that day can vote in person or by mail.

So, you aren’t expecting to be in your voting precinct for Minnesota’s Aug. 14 primary election, but you want to cast a ballot?

No problem.

Absentee voting for the primary kicked off June 29 and will continue by mail and in person through Aug. 13.

Absentee voting for the Nov. 6 general election begins Sept. 21. State law requires absentee voting to begin 46 days before an election.

On the primary ballot for Apple Valley, Rosemount residents

For Apple Valley residents, races on the primary ballot will be at the state and national level. Candidate filing for Apple Valley City Council seats begins July 31 and goes through Aug. 13. More information about elections and voting in Apple Valley is available here.

Rosemount residents will see those state and national races, as well as city council candidates; filing for Rosemount City Council already has occurred, and . More information about elections and voting in Rosemount is available here, by clicking on City Services and then Elections.

*To find out which races and candidates will be on your primary ballot— absentee or at the polls on Aug. 14—search using your address on the Minnesota Secretary of State's website here. Below the information about your polling place, etc., should be a red link that says "Click here for a list of candidates."

Absentee voting: a primer

As far as primary elections go, absentee voting hit a 20-year high during the most recent statewide election cycle in 2010, when more than 30,000 ballots were cast. Roughly 22,000 absentee ballots were cast in 2008.

The date of the state's primary election was moved from September to August in 2010 so that the state would fall in line with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, which provides ample time for the ballots of military personnel and other Americans overseas to arrive back in the states for counting.

Here is more on absentee voting in Dakota County, with information from the Dakota County and Minnesota Secretary of State websites:

Who is eligible to vote by absentee ballot

Voters can cast absentee ballots because of:
• Absence from the precinct
• Illness or disability
• Religious discipline or observance of religious holiday
• Serving as election judge in another precinct
• Isolation or quarantine order
• Advisory to avoid public places because of threat to public health

Where to obtain an absentee ballot application

In person
• Administration Center - Hastings, 1590 Highway 55, Hastings
• Northern Service Center - West St. Paul, 1 Mendota Road W., West St. Paul
• Western Service Center - Apple Valley, 14955 Galaxie Ave. Apple Valley
• , 7100 147th St. W.
• , 2875 145th St. W.

Online:
Click here for Dakota County’s absentee ballot application.

By Phone:
Call either the Dakota County Administration Center voice message system at (651) 438-4380 or your municipality's City Hall.

* Note: Absentee ballot will be sent out one to two days after applications are received.

How to return ballots

• Mail back the ballot in the prepaid envelope. To be counted, it must be received (not postmarked) by 3 p.m. Election Day (Aug. 14).
• Voters may also return their ballots in person to a Dakota County service center or to your municipality's City Hall by 5 p.m. the day before the primary election (Aug. 13). Ballots can be returned during regular business hours Monday through Friday. In addition, extended business hours are planned from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, and until 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 13.

How to vote absentee in person

Absentee voters can cast ballots in person at a Dakota County service center or at your municipality's City Hall during regular business hours Monday through Friday, during extended business hours on Aug. 11, and until 5 p.m. Aug. 13.

How to vote absentee by agent

Certain people are eligible to have someone pick up a ballot for them and return the ballot within the seven days before an election:
• Patients in hospitals, residential treatment centers and nursing homes
• Residents of group homes
• Residents of battered women's shelters
• Residents of assisted living facilities
• Voters who are disabled
• Voters who would have difficulty getting to the polls because of incapacitating health reasons

Voters must:
• Choose an agent they have a pre-existing relationship with who is at least 18 years old and not a candidate. A person cannot serve as an agent for more than three voters.
• Complete the Request for Agent Delivery of Absentee Ballot Form and have the agent bring that and the ballot to a Dakota County service center or your municipality's City Hall. Agents must show identification with their name and signature.
• Ballots must be returned by 3 p.m. Election Day (Aug. 14).

How to check ballot status

To check the status of their ballots, absentee voters can click here.

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