As the Election Day nears, many citizens are experiencing Election Day anxiety. Am I allowed to take off work to go to the polls to vote? I have young children and am unable to find a babysitter, am I able to bring my children with me to the polls and into the voting booth with me? If I need assistance, will I be accommodated? Overall, what are my rights as a Minnesotan voter?
A decade ago, the Minnesota legislature passed the “Voter’s Bill of Rights”. This statute is a 14 point decree listing the rights of voters. This statute is posted in a conspicuous location in every voting location, but reviewing it before you head to the polls is crucial to understanding the expectations you should have.The Minnesota Voter’s Bill of Rights is as follows:
- You have the right to be absence from work in order to vote in state, federal, or regularly scheduled elections without reduction of your pay, personal leave, or vacation time on election day for the time necessary to appear at your polling place, cast a ballot, and return to work.
- If you are in line at your polling place anytime before 8 p.m, you have the right to vote.
- If you can provide the required proof of residence, you have the right to register to vote on election day.
- If you are unable to sign your name you have the right to orally confirm your identity with an election judge and to direct another person to sign your name for you.
- You have the right to request special assistance when voting.
- If you need assistance, you may be accompanied into a voting booth by a person of your choice, except by an agent or your employe, union, or a candidate.
- You have the right to bring your minor children into the polling place and into the voting booth with you.
- If you have been convicted of a felony but your felony sentence has expired (been completed) or yo have been discharged from your sentence, you have the right to vote.
- If you are under a guardianship, you have the right to vote, unless the court order revokes your right to vote.
- You have the right to vote without anyone in the polling place trying to influence your vote.
- If you make a mistake or spoil your ballot before it is submitted, you have the right to receive a replacement ballot and vote.
- You have the right to file a written complaint at your polling place if you are dissatisfied with the way an election is being run.
- You have the right to take a sample ballot into the voting booth with you.
- You have the right to take a copy of this Voter’s Bill of Rights into the voting booth with you.
Sample ballots from your precinct can be viewed before Tuesday’s election by visiting this website.