Absentee voting under way for Senate District 61 special primary

Absentee voting for the special primary for Senate District 61 opened Friday, Aug. 12 and continues through Monday, Sept. 12. The special primary is Tuesday, Sept. 13.

The special election is needed to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Linda Berglin who retired from the Minnesota Legislature to accept a position with Hennepin County. This special election is only for 23 of the 131 precincts in Minneapolis.

Individuals who live in Senate District 61 in south Minneapolis may vote for one candidate in the primary. Once the field of candidates has been narrowed, voters will select a new senator during the special election, which is set for Tuesday, Oct. 18. To view the candidates seeking office, visit the Secretary of State’s website.

How a primary election 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 top candidate in each partisan contest 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

District 61 voters who will be away from their polling place for the Sept. 13 special primary have the option of voting by absentee ballot through Sept. 12. District 61 voters can pick up an absentee ballot application in the Minneapolis Office of Elections, Room 1B, City Hall, or by visiting the City’s elections website. Voters may use the Secretary of State’s absentee ballot look-up to check on the status of their absentee ballot.

Pre-registration deadline

The deadline to preregister to vote in the Sept. 13 special primary is Tuesday, Aug. 23.

Election Day registration

Eligible voters may also register on Election Day at the polls by providing state-required proof of residence. Voters may use the Secretary of States voter registration lookup to confirm they are registered to vote under their current name and address.

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. 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 under way 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 Aug. 17, 2011