Minnesotans are eligible to vote early in the state’s midterm elections in person or by mail starting on Friday.
Voters will elect Minnesota’s next governor and the person who will lead Minnesota’s state constitutional offices of attorney general, secretary of state and state auditor. On top of statewide races, all eight congressional districts and all of the Minnesota Legislature’s 201 seats are up for election.
How do I vote early?
Minnesotans can vote early, beginning 46 days before an election or Friday, Sept. 23. Voters can either cast their vote by mail or at their local election office.
Minnesotans can apply for an absentee ballot using the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website. They must provide an email address and a Minnesota driver’s license number, a state ID number or the last four digits of their Social Security number.
People looking to vote early in person can do so at their county elections office, with most open during normal business hours. Voters can register ahead of time online or on the day of at the early-voting location with proof of residence, like an ID with a current residence or a photo ID and a document with their name and current address — such as a utility bill.
Links to local election information, including videos of recent candidate forums for EP City Council, EP School Board, and local state races hosted by the League of Women Voters, can also be found on the City of Eden Prairie’s website.
In-person absentee voting is available at Eden Prairie City Center, 8080 Mitchell Road, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5. The last day to do so is from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7.
Key Minnesota races to watch
DFL Gov. Tim Walz is seeking a second term against Republican challenger Scott Jensen, a Chaska family physician who spent a term in the state Senate.
Walz and his fellow Democrats have criticized Jensen for his COVID-19 views — including his comparison of pandemic policies to the rise of Nazisim — and his public statements promising to ban abortion, which he has since walked back.
Jensen’s campaign has attacked Walz for rising rates of violent crime and for COVID-19 shutdowns.
Polling suggests that the race for Minnesota attorney general is neck-and-neck between Attorney General Keith Ellison and Republican Jim Schultz. A Harvard Law School graduate, Schultz has also made crime a major campaign issue, although the attorney general has a limited role in enforcing criminal statutes. Ellison says Schultz is unqualified for the role because he lacks the courtroom experience needed for attorney general.
Republicans believe they have a shot at full control of the Minnesota Legislature, which would require them to hold their narrow Senate majority and flip a handful of House seats. A Republican majority would likely mean major tax and spending cuts. Democrats believe the recent redistricting that pushed more seats into the metro gives them an advantage. They’d focus on increasing education spending.
In Eden Prairie, Democratic incumbent Steve Cwodzinski is running against Republican Marla Helseth for the District 49 Minnesota Senate seat. For House District 49A, Democratic incumbent Laurie Pryor is being challenged by Republican Ryan Chase. Democratic incumbent Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn is running against Republican Thomas Knecht in the House District 49B race.
Finally, the state’s largest collection of prosecutors sits in the Office of the Hennepin County Attorney, from which current County Attorney Mike Freeman is leaving.
Contenders for his spot are Mary Moriarty, the former Hennepin County chief public defender, and retired Hennepin County judge Martha Holton Dimick. Moriarty came out with the most votes in the August primary. She’s promised a vision of progressive criminal justice reform, while Dimick has pledged to take on the rise in violent crime.
Dawanna Witt, a major in the sheriff’s office, and Joseph Banks, most recently the acting police chief of the Lower Sioux Police Department, are vying to replace Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson.
Editor’s note: The Minnesota Reformer is an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to keeping Minnesotans informed and unearthing stories other outlets can’t or won’t tell.
Michelle Griffith, who covers state politics and policy for the Minnesota Reformer, wrote this piece. It originally appeared in the Minnesota Reformer on Sept. 23.
Eden Prairie-specific election information was added to this story by EPLN.
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