With the General Election barely a month away, and as COVID-19 continues to spread, many Minnesotans are opting to use absentee voting, either by mail or in person.
In the national conversation, President Donald Trump has questioned the security of absentee ballots, but Minnesota’s Secretary of State Steve Simon says early balloting here has a triple-layer security system.
“There is a bar code attached to every ballot that is individualized to the voter,” said Simon.
“We also ask every voter who applies to vote by mail to supply some personal identifying information, and a signature is required with each ballot.”
Beltrami County Auditor Treasurer JoDee Treat said that if voters are concerned about mailing in their ballots, a secure, drop-off location is available outside the Auditor-Treasurer’s Office, on the second floor of the Beltrami County Administration Building.
In Beltrami County, there has been precinct-wide mail-in voting in place for several years, especially in the more remote and rural townships, but new precincts that have opted to use mail-in voting this year, rather than a staffed polling place, include the City of Kelliher, and the townships of Buzzle, Lammers and Turtle River. Voters that live in these townships will automatically receive their ballot by mail, as long as they are registered to vote.
Absentee mail-in voting, in contrast, must be requested, either from their county’s Auditor-Treasurer or from the Secretary of State’s office.
Treat said that she has not seen a significant delay in the post system, and since early voting began on Sept. 18, her office has processed 6,500 absentee voting requests, with 6,000 absentee ballots sent out to voters, and 1,000 completed ballots received.
Ballots must be postmarked by the General Election, Tuesday, Nov. 3, and received by the Auditor-Treasurer’s Office by Tuesday, Nov. 10, to be counted in the General Election. Beltrami’s election canvassing will be held on Friday, Nov. 13.