I saw a tweet by Joe Biden this week that said time was running out to register to vote in Minnesota. Is that true? I thought I had more time. -- Not Yet Registered
Don’t get your procrastinating brain too worked up. While it’s hard to understand why you didn’t immediately head to your local elections office to take care of the paperwork, you can still register on Election Day or take your chances through mail.
The Minnesota Secretary of State sends registration materials to any unregistered voter that requests an absentee ballot, so that’s one avenue to get your name on the list of eligible voters.
You can also wait to go to the polls on Nov. 3, if you want to make sure your information gets into the right hands in time to have your vote counted.
To register, you will need a valid identification card with your name and address, as well as at least one more document with your current address. (It could be more, depending on the identification card you offer.)
The other option is taking a registered voter from the neighborhood with you to vouch for your ability to register and vote. One person can vouch for up to eight new voters.
More information on special circumstances is available at the Secretary of State’s website, mnvotes.org.
I read your Oct. 10 column and wanted to point out one other option for those who may have forgotten what verification number they used in requesting an absentee ballot. I would suggest they log in to check their ballot status on the Secretary of State’s website.
When you check your ballot status, it asks for the verification number. You can try it with one of those numbers. If you are not allowed in, you must assume (always dangerous) that you used the other number and you can try that. I think I put down both numbers when requesting the ballot, but took a guess as to which number to use.
Since the last four digits of your Social Security number is easier to remember (and type), I tried that. Success! And yes, I am over 70 and certainly qualify for “senior moments.” -- Avid Reader and Voter.
Following last week’s column on the subject, a few readers offered a similar suggestion, so I opted to put it to the test.
I happen to know someone who is paranoid enough regarding his Social Security number to avoid putting any part of it in writing whenever possible. Given the option to apply with his driver’s license, there is no question which number he used.
I asked him to go outside his comfort zone and request a status check based on the last digits of his precious Social Security number, and with a bit of persuasion he consented.
We were surprised to see he obtained the same results as when he used his driver’s license number.
While the online check seems like it should work, it’s evidently not foolproof, likely due to governmental tendencies to cross-reference data. As a result, It’s likely safer to do what the election officials suggest and either include both numbers on your ballot or make a phone call to ask a real person to check your actual application.
A couple readers who contacted me after last week’s columns said they were able to put their minds at ease with a quick call to the local office. One even noted something that I failed to point out last week.
If a voter happens to use the wrong identification number on the ballot’s signature envelope, the ballot isn’t automatically rejected. The election judges have the option to compare signatures to validate the ballot.
If questions remain, election officials will contact the voter and send a new ballot or provide the option to pick one up, if timing is a concern.
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