Early voting has started, here's how it works

The state of Minnesota has several options available for those who choose not to vote in person at a polling place on Nov. 3.

ELECTION 2020 DLPF web graphic

Early voting has started in Minnesota and the Otter Tail County Auditor’s Office says it has been asked many questions about voting.

The pandemic has given rise to new precautions at polling places and questions about alternatives to voting in person, according to a news release from Otter Tail County. The state of Minnesota has several options available for those who choose not to vote in person at a polling place on Nov. 3.

Vote early in person: Voters can cast an absentee ballot at their local election’s office starting Friday, Sept. 18. In Otter Tail County, to vote early in person, you may visit the Government Services Center at 510 West Fir Avenue in Fergus Falls Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or the last Saturday before Election Day, Oct. 31, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the day before Election Day, Nov. 2, until 5 p.m., according to the release.

Vote early by mail or apply to have an absentee ballot to be sent in the mail: When returning your ballot by mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day, Nov. 3, and received by your county within the next seven calendar days, Nov. 10. Return your ballot by mail or package delivery service such as FedEx or UPS. You can also return your ballot in person no later than 3 p.m. Nov. 3 to the election office that sent your ballot. Ballots may not be dropped off at polling place on Election Day.

To vote absentee:


  1. Complete an absentee ballot application any time during the year at or download the paper absentee ballot application from the same site and mail or email to the Auditor’s Office. Election officials will send voting materials once ballots are available.
  2. Read the instructions that come with your ballot carefully! Your ballot will not count if you do not complete all the forms.
  3. Because of COVID-19, there is no witness requirement for registered voters for this election. Non-registered voters will still need a witness, to indicate their proof of residence.
  4. If you are not registered to vote, you will get a registration application in your materials. To register, show your witness one of the identification options listed in the instructions. Your witness must mark which ID you showed them on your signature envelope.

Voters are strongly encouraged to submit their absentee ballot application as early as possible to allow adequate time for processing the application and for it to return.

All absentee ballots that are received on time and had the forms filled out correctly will be counted. Voters can visit to track the status of your ballot and confirm that it was received and counted.

For more information on early or absentee voting:

Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State or 1-877-600-VOTE

Otter Tail County Webpage:

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