After your absentee ballot is received at the elections office, it is reviewed by an absentee ballot board. This board checks that the signature envelope was filled out correctly. Each envelope is reviewed by at least two members of the board.
How does the ballot board decide if a ballot is accepted?
They look at these things on the signature envelope:
- Ensure the name and address match what was on the absentee application
- Ensure the ID matches what was on the absentee application
- Ensure the voter has signed the envelope
- Ensure a witness has completed the witness portion
The board will also:
- Ensure the voter is registered, or has included a properly completed voter registration application
- Ensure the voter has not already voted in the election
What happens after my absentee ballot is accepted?
Accepted ballots are set aside in a secure area until one week before the election, separated by precinct. Starting one week before the election, the signature envelopes are opened and the ballot envelopes are removed and set aside so that no one knows whose ballot is whose. Once the ballot envelopes are separated, they are opened, reviewed by election judges, duplicated if necessary, and inserted in the ballot counter. Examples where judges would need to duplicate a ballot include if a ballot was damaged, unreadable by the tabulator, or on the incorrect ballot style for that precinct.
When are ballots counted?
Absentee ballots may be inserted into ballot counters as soon as one week before election day. However, no totals are produced until polling places close at 8pm on election night.
What happens if my absentee ballot is rejected?
If your ballot is rejected more than 5 days before the election, you will be mailed a replacement ballot along with an explanation of why your ballot was rejected. If your ballot is rejected within 5 days of the election, election officials will attempt to contact you to let you know.
How do they make sure people can’t vote twice?
All ballots are tracked individually and linked to a voter in Minnesota’s voter registration database. Once a ballot is accepted, if that voter tries to vote again, the election official or election judge will see that the voter has an accepted ballot. Lists in the polling place are even updated throughout election day as ballots are accepted.