Absentee voting underway for House District 61B & Senate District 59 primary

Absentee voting for the special primary for House District 61B and Senate District 59 continues through Monday, Dec. 5. The special primary is Tuesday, Dec. 6. To view the candidates seeking office, visit the Secretary of State’s website.

The House District 61B special election is being held to fill the vacancy created in when Representative Jeff Hayden was elected and sworn in to serve as the Senate District 61 state senator. The HD 61B special election is only for 12 precincts in south central Minneapolis.

The special election in Senate District 59 will fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Lawrence Pogemiller to accept an appointment by the Governor to the Office of Higher Education. This special election is only for 25 precincts in northeast and southeast Minneapolis. There are currently 131 precinct in Minneapolis.

Individuals who live in these districts may vote for one candidate in the primary. Once the field of candidates has been narrowed, voters will elect a new senator or new state representative during the special election set for Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012.

How a partisan primary works

A primary differs from the general election in that voters narrow the field of candidates within a political party. For partisan offices, voters nominate candidates to the general election from those who filed within Minnesota’s three major political parties (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Independence Party and Republican Party).

Candidates of the three major political parties will be on the same ballot in separate party columns. All voters receive the same ballot and privately vote within the one political party of their choice. The winning primary candidate in each major political party will be on the general election ballot, along with minor party candidates and independent candidates. There are no write-ins in a primary.

Absentee voting

Voters may absentee vote in person, or conduct the entire process through the mail. Allow at least seven days to complete the entire process through the mail. Absentee voting for the Special Partisan Primary opened Friday, Oct. 28 and continues through Monday, Dec. 5 at Minneapolis City Hall, 350 Fifth St. S. – Room 1B (ground floor of Minneapolis City Hall) and Hennepin County Elections, Government Center – 300 S. 6th St. - Public Service Level. Absentee ballot applications are available at City’s elections website. On Saturday, Dec. 3, absentee voting hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Monday, Dec. 5 absentee voting closes at 5 p.m. Voters may use the Secretary of State’s absentee ballot look-up to check on the status of their absentee ballot. Call Minneapolis 311 or 612-673-3000 for further information.

Election Day registration

The deadline to pre-register to vote in the Dec. 6 special primary election was Tuesday, Nov. 15. Voters may use the Secretary of State’s Voter Registration Lookup to confirm they are registered to vote under their current name and address. Eligible voters may also register on Election Day at the polls by providing state-required proof of residence. Use the Polling Place Finder to find out where to vote.

Time off work to vote

Minnesota law allows employees who are eligible voters the right to be absent from work for the time necessary to vote without penalty or deduction from salary or wages. Check your union contract and talk with your supervisor to coordinate time off for voting. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Special responsibilities for City Hall workers and visitors

Because absentee voting for the primary election is underway in City Hall, employees who work in or routinely visit City Hall are reminded that working in a polling place carries special responsibilities.

Employees are reminded that the State law prohibits campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place when voting is underway. This includes a prohibition against wearing T-shirts, buttons or other clothing that displays political messages when voting is occurring.

Published Nov. 21, 2011