During the 2023 legislative session, large and small policy changes were enacted to modernize Minnesota’s election laws and ensure every Minnesotan has access to free, fair, secure, and accurate elections. These reforms expand access to the ballot and increase election security. Legislative changes that will impact voters are summarized below.
A criminal record does not impact your right to vote in Minnesota unless you are currently incarcerated for a felony conviction. You will need to register to vote. It is best to register before Election Day, but it is not required.
Minnesotans ages 16 or 17 who are otherwise eligible to vote can now preregister to vote. They will be able to vote in the first election after they turn 18.
The right to be absent from work to vote is now expanded to include any time during the absentee voting period or voting on election day.
The deadline for all absentee and mail ballots to be returned is now 8 p.m. on election day.
Agent delivery ballots can be issued and accepted beginning seven days before election day and until 8 p.m. on election day.
Counties or authorized municipal clerks are now permitted to designate additional temporary locations for voting before election day. Additional temporary locations must be designated at least 47 days before the election.
If a county receives a request from a federally recognized Tribal Nation, it must provide an in-person absentee location on reservation land for at least one day.
Healthcare facility voting may now be administered starting 35 days before election day.
There is no limit on the number of voters that any person can assist in an election. Candidates can now provide assistance to voters on election day.
Individuals can only drop off ballots for themselves and a maximum of three other voters.
This list of people who may vouch for another resident on election day is expanded to include assisted living staff members. Employees of residential facilities have previously been able to serve as a voucher, and now the definition of a residential facility is expanded to include adult foster and residential treatment programs.
Post-secondary institutions are now required in law to provide a list of students living both on campus and in the city or cities where their campus is located. Students who live in the city where their campus is located can register to vote with their student ID if they live on or in the same city as campus.
Voters are now allowed to sign electronically when electronic rosters are used. Election Day Registration Applications and voter certificates signed electronically must be printed at the time of the transaction at the polling place.
Direct balloting is an optional process that local election offices can choose to implement. As of June 1, 2023, Minnesota extended direct balloting window from 7 days to 18 days. This allows voters to place their absentee ballot into a tabulator 18 days before an election. Voters can still choose to place their absentee ballot into an envelope to be processed and tabulated later. Voters do not need an excuse to vote absentee.
A separate law change also allows the absentee ballot board to start processing absentee ballots 18 days before the election. Tabulators will not produce election results until after the close of polls on election day. All tabulators used to process absentee ballots remain secured throughout the process.
It is illegal to intimidate elections workers; interfere with the administration of an election; disseminate personal information of an election official; obstruct access of any election official to the location where elections administration is occurring; tamper with a ballot box; tamper with the Statewide Voter Registration System, registration list or polling place roster; or, access the statewide voter registration system without authorization.
Anyone found in violation of this law would be guilty of a gross misdemeanor with civil penalties of damages and up to $1,000 for each violation.
The law regarding the prohibition on campaigning near polling places has been clarified to prohibit wearing, exhibiting, or distributing any item that displays:
The law clarifies that these prohibitions apply only during voting hours. They also apply during the absentee/early voting periods, to include the polling place and “within 100 feet of the room in which a polling place is situated, to the extent practicable.”
It is a crime to widely share a deep fake within 90 days of an election if the person knows or should have known that the item was a deep fake made without the consent of the depicted individual and acts with the intent to harm a candidate’s reputation or influence the result of an election. This law may also apply before the deep fake has been shared – if there is an agreement to do so. Read a one-page guide on the new Minnesota law regulating election-related deep fakes.
In all elections after January 1, 2024, voting instructions will be available on Election Day in the three most commonly spoken non-English languages in the state as determined by the state demographer for the previous calendar year. Translated sample ballots will be available in precincts on election day where 3% or more of the population speak English “less than very well”. Translation services will be available in precincts on election day where 20% or more of the population speak English “less than very well” and if ten or more registered voters file a request.
All eligible adults will be automatically registered to vote when they get a state-issued ID, once the Office of the Secretary of State certifies that the system is operational. Automatic Voter Registration is not anticipated to be in effect until early 2024.
Minor changes were made to the boundaries in Senate Districts 9 & 12, Senate District 17, and Senate District 44. These changes will go into effect for the statewide primary in August 2024. Impacted municipalities and counties will adjust precinct and commissioner boundaries after the Presidential Nominating Primary and before the August 2024 election.
In June 2024, eligible voters will be able to request to be added to a list to automatically be sent an absentee ballot during the early vote period, instead of needing to apply again ahead of every election. This will save time for voters who know they want to continue voting from home.
During a statewide general election, voting locations will be required to be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the two Saturdays and the Sunday before the election, until 7 p.m. on the Tuesday the week before the election, and until 5 p.m. on the Monday before the election. For non-statewide general elections, voting locations will be required to be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Saturday before the election and until 5 p.m. on the Monday before the election.
The legislature has approved an early voting period to start 18 days before election day. During this time, the voter will be able to insert the ballot directly into a tabulator. Early voting will not take effect until the Office of the Secretary of State certifies the election systems work properly, which is not anticipated until after the 2024 election cycle.
Funding is allocated to the Office of the Secretary of State to conduct a study of issues related to voter engagement, education, and improvements to the election system, including assessing ranked-choice voting. The study must include consultation with election administrators and community organizations and will review existing elections systems and procedures and their compatibility with the topics of the study. An interim report must be submitted no later than February 1, 2025, and a final report is required by June 30, 2025.
Membership in this compact stipulates that Minnesota would appoint its presidential electors based on the outcome of the national popular vote, rather than the popular vote within the state. The agreement would not take effect until enough states – representing a majority of electoral votes – have signed onto the agreement.