ABSENTEE Ballot Changes! Updated 10-30-2020
The deadline to drop off a ballot in person is 3 PM on Election Day. The deadline for mail or delivery service is 8 PM on Election Day. Absentee and mail ballots received after Election Day will be segregated and held until additional instructions are provided by the Secretary of State's Office.
- Voters should no longer place their absentee ballot in the mail.
- Voters who have already put their ballot in the mail can track their ballot at mnvotes.org. If their ballot has not yet been received the voter can vote in person either by absentee ballot before Election Day, or at their polling place on Election Day.
- Voters can deliver their ballots to their county election office by hand (or have someone they trust hand-deliver it for them).
- Voters can cast their votes in person on Election Day, Nov. 3. Go to mnvotes.org to find your polling place.
Drive thru Ballot Drop off Location
Stearns County Service Center, Election Office, 3301 CR 138, Waite Park, MN 56387
Extended Hours for drive thru ballot drop off:
8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Tuesday, October 27, 2020 to Friday, October 30
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Saturday, October 31
8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday, November 2
There is not drive thru ballot drop off on Election Day, November 3.
General Absentee Information
There are two ways to vote by absentee ballot: in person and by mail.
In Person Absentee Voting - Stearns County (available to residents of the county)
You may cast an absentee ballot in person, at the Stearns County Office of Auditors, 705 Courthouse Square, Room 148, Street Cloud Minnesota 56303 starting 46 days prior to Election Day. This option is available on weekdays during business hours. In addition, the county auditor's office must be open for absentee balloting from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM on the Saturday before the election and until 5:00 PM on the day before the election.
In Person Absentee Voting - St. Joseph Government Center (only available to residents of St. Joseph)
The City of St. Joseph offers in person absentee voting 1 week prior to election day. Voting is available on weekdays during business hours. The city is also open from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM on the Saturday before election day and until 4:30 PM on the day before the election. Early voting is offered at the St. Joseph Government Center. Residents of both precincts are able to vote during this time.
Absentee Voting by Mail
In order to vote absentee by mail, you need to complete an Absentee Ballot Application and submit it to the Stearns County Office of Auditors by mail, fax, or email (print off the application, sign it, scan it, and attach to an email as a .pdf). Your ballot will be sent to you when it is ready - at least 46 days prior to the election if you applied for an absentee ballot in advance. If you apply for an absentee ballot within 46 days of the election, your ballot will arrive within a day or two of your application being received.
Returning your absentee ballot
Once you have received your absentee ballot, follow the enclosed instructions carefully and return your ballot as soon as possible. It must be received by the local election official who sent it to you by Election Day, or it will not be counted. There are four ways you can return your absentee ballot:
- Mail back your ballot in the pre-paid envelope provided by your local election official.
- Up until 5 p.m. on the day before the election, you may deliver your ballot in person to your local election official.
- You may also have someone else return your completed ballot, sealed in its envelope, to your local election official until 3 p.m. on Election Day.
- If you are worried about your ballot not arriving on time using First Class mail, you may choose to pay for package delivery service to return your ballot.
Checking on the Status of Your Absentee Ballot
To find out where your absentee ballot is in the process, use the Absentee Ballot Lookup.
Assistance in Receiving & Returning an Absentee Ballot
The following voters may authorize another person (known as their "agent") to pick up and return an absentee ballot for them during the seven days before the election:
- Patients in hospitals, residential treatment centers, and nursing homes
- Residents of assisted living facilities
- Residents of battered women's shelters
- Residents of group homes
- Voters who are disabled
- Voters who would have difficulty getting to the polls because of incapacitating health reasons
If you are currently living in a residential facility but not sure if it meets the qualifications listed above, please ask the administrator of your facility.