Absentee voters now urged to hand-deliver their ballots due to federal court ruling

The U.S. Court of Appeals made a 2-1 ruling that votes received after Election Day cannot be counted in the General Election. 

Secretary of State Steve Simon previously announced his intention that votes received up to seven days after the election would be counted, as long as they were postmarked by election day, but the federal court ruled that doing so would be unconstitutional.

Voters should no longer place their absentee ballot in the mail, and should deliver their ballots to their county election office by hand.

In Beltrami County, that office is on the second floor, outside the Auditor-Treasurer’s office, in the County Administration Building.

You can check the status of your ballot at mnvotes.org/track to see if your ballot has been received and accepted.

Voters can also vote absentee in-person until Monday, and at the polls on Election Day. You can find your polling location at mnvotes.org.

Secretary Simon released the following statement after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit announced its decision to eliminate Minnesota’s established seven-day grace period for accepting absentee ballots for next week’s general election:

“The court’s decision is a tremendous and unnecessary disruption to Minnesota’s election, just days before Election Day. This last-minute change could disenfranchise Minnesotans who were relying on settled rules for the 2020 election — rules that were in place before the August 11 primary and were accepted by all political parties. It is deeply troubling that the people who brought the lawsuit, a conservative legislator and presidential elector, would seek to sabotage the system for political gain.

I won’t let any Minnesota voter be silenced. My mission is now to make sure all voters know that a federal court has suddenly changed the rules, and that their ballot needs to be received by Election Day.

The right to vote is fundamental. The court’s decision is a step in the direction of restricting the exercise of that right, during a pandemic that has altered everything about our daily lives. But Minnesotans always find a way to vote, and they’ll do so again this year. The spirit that has fueled Minnesota’s nation-leading voter turnout will continue.”

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released the following statement on yesterday’s ruling from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals:

“Today’s ruling by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals is an attack on democracy brought about by a Republican Party desperate to stifle the voices of Minnesotans across our state. This absurd and misguided opinion will toss out the rules that have been in place since before voting began in September. Now, with just five days before election day, and Republicans surely heading for defeat at the polls, the Republican Party is responsible for potentially disenfranchising thousands of Minnesotans who were prepared to vote by mail in the coming days.

“I urge the people of Minnesota to return any outstanding mail-in ballots in-person as soon as possible. The reason the Republican Party is attacking your right to vote is because of the power of that vote to change our state and country. The Republicans are so desperate to win they are willing to trample on our most fundamental right as Americans – the right to vote.  Despite their disgusting maneuvers, this ruling cannot and will not stop the people of Minnesota from holding Republicans accountable for failing us during this pandemic.”


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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