Minn. Secretary of State reminds absentee voters to have witness signature, send in ballot on time

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Tuesday, Oct. 11 marks four weeks until Election Day for the 2022 midterm elections.

Whether you’re voting in person or absentee, there are some things you need to know before casting your ballot.

Absentee voting is already underway, so if you already know who you’re voting for, it isn’t too early to send in your ballot.

Officials say voters should be aware of absentee voting changes since the previous election that could disqualify ballots if voters don’t pay attention.

In 2020, there were some temporary law changes that made absentee voting easier because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, witnesses were waived when it came to submitting ballots.

However, that isn’t the case this year. You do need a witness signature for your ballot to be counted, and the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office says that’s the biggest issue they’re seeing with the ballots coming in right now.

“I looked at the ballots that have come back and have been rejected already, and the biggest reason – and it’s not unusual – is the witness requirement. People don’t understand that they do need a witness. That number is a little bit higher than we’ve seen in the past, so I’m thinking they got confused from the 2020 change,” said David Maeda, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Director of Elections.

Another thing to keep in mind – in 2020, there was an extension as to when absentee ballots could be counted. That is no longer the case; they have to be received by the county by Election Night to be counted.

Also, voters need to register by Oct. 18th.

If you don’t meet that deadline, it doesn’t mean you can’t vote, but you’ll have to register at your polling place on Election Day, which is Nov. 8 this year.

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