What to Do Once You’ve Received an Absentee Ballot and You’re Registered

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Information about Minnesota's voting process in American Sign Language (ASL). Original content is provided by the Minnesota Secretary of State Office. These videos were produced by the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans (MNCDHH).
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Transcript below:
[Opening with the State of Minnesota seal in the background. ASL narrator Sarah Houge appears, with the following words visible on the screen, “What to do once You’ve Received an Absentee Ballot (Registered) Produced by the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans. Sarah begins to sign, the CC begins and the voiceover begins.]

[Background: Desk with envelope.]

This video helps you figure out what to do with all of the materials you received in the mail along with your absentee ballot. If you have not registered to vote this video is not for you. We have a different video to help you register to vote.

[Words briefly appear on the screen: Watch the video “What to Do Once You’ve Received an Absentee Ballot (Unregistered)” if you’re not registered.]

If you have registered already, watch this video.

[Background: Absentee ballot, instructions and envelope.)

Lay out all of the items that came in your packet. There should be a ballot, the instruction sheet, and 3 envelopes. You’ll also need a pen, your ID number and a person who can be your witness.

[Words briefly appear on the screen: You also need a pen, your ID number and a witness]

You need to find your witness before you fill out your ballot. Don’t worry – they don’t get to see how you voted, but they play an important role in the process.

[Words briefly appear on the screen: Witness must be registered to vote and can be a spouse, relative or notary.]

This can be anyone who is registered to vote in Minnesota, including your spouse or a relative. If both you and your spouse or roommate are voting by absentee ballot, you can serve as each other’s witnesses.

Or it can be a notary public or a person with the authority to administer oaths (a legislator or a local election official, for example).

[Background: Desk with sample ballot]

Show your witness the ballot you received in the mail so that they can see that it was blank when it arrived. It’s proof that you are actually going to fill out the ballot yourself. Once they see it’s blank, ask them for some privacy.

Go ahead and fill out the ballot by marking the bubbles. Follow the instructions on the ballot. Do not vote for more candidates than allowed. In most races you are allowed to vote for only one candidate. In some cases you can vote for more than one. Do not write anything extra on the ballot, especially do not write your name or your ID number.

[Background: Desk with ballot envelope. Sample ballot is shown sliding into the ballot envelope.]

Once you are done voting, fold your ballot and put it into the tan ballot envelope. Seal this envelope. There is nothing on this envelope to identify you. It helps ensure that who you voted for stays confidential.

[Background: Desk with signature envelope. Ballot envelope is shown sliding into the signature envelope.]

Now put the tan ballot envelope into the white signature envelope. Seal this envelope. Then ask your witness to come back. Both of you will fill out the form on the outside of this envelope.

There should be a label on the envelope with your name and home address. If there isn’t, then fill in this information.

Then write either your Minnesota driver’s license number or your Minnesota state ID card number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. Use the same number that you put on the application when you applied for an absentee ballot. If you provided both ID numbers when you applied for your ballot, that’s great – now you don’t have to remember which one you provided.

If you do not have any of these numbers, check the box that says that you do not have any of these numbers.

Then there is an oath that you need to sign. It says, “I certify that on Election Day I will meet all the legal requirements to vote.” If this is true, sign your name.
Now give the envelope to your witness. Your witness needs to write his or her name. In the next two boxes the witness needs to write his or her street address in Minnesota. Make sure your witness writes in an address here, even if they live at the same address as you. Make sure your witness does not write in a PO Box. PO Boxes are not allowed on this line.
If your witness is a notary or someone who can administer an oath, your witness must write his or her title instead. If your witness is a notary, he or she must stamp the envelope.
Then your witness has to read and sign an oath that says:
“I certify that:
the voter showed me the blank ballots before voting;
the voter marked the ballots in private or, if physically unable to mark the ballots, the ballots were marked as directed by the voter;
the voter enclosed and sealed the ballots in the ballot envelope; and
I am or have been registered to vote in Minnesota, or am a notary, or am authorized to give oaths.”

Have the witness sign his or her name. Now you’re done filling out this form!
[Background: Desk with return envelope is shown. Signature envelope is shown sliding into the return envelope.]
Put the white signature envelope into the larger white return envelope and seal the return envelope. The return envelope keeps the information that you wrote on the signature envelope, like your ID number, confidential.
You must return your ballot by the deadline so that it can be counted. You need to make sure it will arrive on or before Election Day. There are several options to choose from.
[Words briefly appear on the screen: Mail the envelope so it arrives on or before Election Day.]
You can mail it or send it using a delivery service, such as UPS. Or you can drop it off yourself or ask someone else to drop it off at your local elections office.
[Words briefly appear on the screen: Drop it off at the local elections office by 3:00 pm]
In this case it has to be dropped off by 3:00 p.m. on Election Day. If someone else drops it off for you, they can’t deliver more than 3 people’s ballots.
After you’ve returned your ballot, you can check on its status online at the Minnesota Votes website to see if it’s been received, been processed, and been counted yet. Watch another video to find out more about this.

[Words briefly appear on the screen: Watch the video “check on your absentee ballot’s status”]

For more information, go to the Minnesota Votes website.

[MNCDHH logo is shown. Video ends.]

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