ALEXANDRIA, MN — The presidential nomination primary is fast approaching. Early voting begins Friday, January 17 and the polls will be open March 3.
“There is important information we want voters to be aware of prior to this primary,” says Douglas County Elections Administrator Vicki Doehling. “We want everyone to know the facts and be assured that all Douglas County election officials are trained on this year’s new procedures.”
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at most locations. Voters will be required to request only one party’s ballot. Currently, there are four major political parties: Legal Marijuana Now; Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis; Republican; Democrat-Farmer-Labor. However, only the Republican party and the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party have met the requirements and/or chosen to participate in the presidential nomination primary in Minnesota. Each party has its own ballot with only their candidate(s) listed for president.
At the polls, voters will request their party’s ballot privately by choosing a political party on an electronic roster device. For early voting, the process will take place at the Douglas County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office or by mail. Voters will need to complete an Absentee Ballot Application either in person or online at mnvotes.org. The application will include an area for the voter to privately select their party preference. After completing an Absentee Ballot Application, the voter will then receive a ballot matching their party choice. County employees and election judges will not share any voters’ ballot preferences.
A record of which party’s ballot a voter has selected will be made available to the chair of each major political party following the election. This record will also be linked to a voter’s history for this election only. Voters do not need to be registered with a political party.
The presidential nomination primary results will determine Minnesota’s delegates for each party. Precinct caucuses will continue to be held to discuss and vote on other political party issues. This year the precinct caucuses will be Tuesday, February 25 at 7 p.m. Caucus locations will be posted at mnvotes.org shortly before the caucus date.
New residents of Douglas County must register to vote 20 days prior to March 3. If a person has not pre-registered by February 11, they must bring an ID with their current name and address, or a photo ID with a document showing current name and address. That document can include: phone, TV or Internet bill, solid waste, sewer, electric, gas or water bill, banking or credit card statement, a current student fee statement or residential lease or rent agreement valid through election day. Voters can pre-register online at mnvotes.org on or before February 11.