Reminders about early voting and absentee ballot deadlines

Updated: October 30, 2020 07:12 PM

Early voting continued to be a popular option at city hall in Duluth on Friday. Some, like Simone Anzion, said it's hard to keep track of all the changes of deadlines.


"I think it's really important to not feel stress voting, and I wanted to make sure there's enough time. I think doing it earlier is better, and then you don't have to worry about it," she told us.

Thursday's ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit says absentee ballots delivered by hand must be submitted by 3pm on election day. All ballots in the mail must be in by 8pm on election day. Those that come in after 8pm will be separated. Before, the understanding was the ballot must be postmarked on or before election day, and it would still be counted.

So election officials are urging people to bring their absentee ballots in, in person, and not rely on the mail. 

Chelsea Helmer, city clerk for Duluth, said, "You can come in and put it in the box in the building during early voting hours, or use our drop-box that's available 24/7 on 2nd street."

She added, "It's important to note you cannot bring your absentee ballot to the polls on election day."

You can also early vote on Saturday, from 8am-4:30pm, and Monday, November 2nd from 8am-5pm, at Duluth City Hall.

The St. Louis County Auditor says there are approximately 10,000 ballots that have been sent out but not yet returned. Their press release said voters who have not yet mailed their ballot can deliver it by hand to their issuing jurisdiction or to the County Auditor’s Office at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth or the Government Services Center-Virginia.

St. Louis County also said voters can cast their vote in person with an absentee ballot if their jurisdiction issues absentee ballots through Monday, November 2. The St. Louis County Auditor's Office in Duluth and Virginia will be open extended hours for absentee voting on Saturday, October 31, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Monday, November 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Secretary of State Steve Simon is urging people to track your ballot. If it's in transit, and you're worried it won't make it in time, you can always vote early or vote on election day at the polls. "Those will cancel out any in-transit ballots," he explained.

In a statement on Friday afternoon, Simon's office said, "While Minnesota will comply with the 8th Circuit's ruling to segregate the ballots received after November 3, we need to emphasize that there is no court ruling yet saying those ballots are invalid. We absolutely reserve the right to make every argument after Election Day that protects voters. For now, our focus is to make sure that every Minnesota voter knows to cast their ballot by 8 p.m. on November 3, and that every ballot legally cast is counted.”

To track your absentee ballot in Minnesota:

In Wisconsin, you can submit your absentee ballots at the polls by 8pm, EXCEPT in Ashland and Superior. In those cities, you must submit your ballots at city hall.

Polls open up at 7am on Tuesday. Helmer said there might be lines and a short wait this year, due to social distancing.

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