This is what’s called an “odd year” in elections. For Minnesotans, that means no balloting for Senators, Congressional representatives, state officeholders or state legislators.
But Nov. 7 is still Election Day in Minnesota.
In some communities in the Twin Cities metro area, there are no races to vote on at all. In communities that do have contested races, citizens will be voting for municipal candidates like city council members or school board representatives.
While these elected officials can make a big difference in the quality of a citizen’s life, the profile of these races tend to be low, with few yard signs, major ad buys of commercials on radio or television, and candidate debates that are less publicized and well attended.
“We want people to feel prepared, to know where to go to vote on or before Election Day,” said Lydia McComas, voter engagement division manager for Hennepin County Elections. “We want them to be able to see who will be on their ballot and what it will look like.”
McComas refers voters to the website, mnvotes.com/myballot, where they can find out about their polling place, hours for early voting and more on the candidates they will choose between.
For thousands of Minnesotans, this November’s election will represent a return to exercising their right to vote.
Under a new state law passed by the Minnesota Legislature in July, the voting eligibility of some Minnesotans with criminal records has expanded.
“People who are on probation or parole can now vote,” explained McComas. “In the past, they had to wait but now if they are not incarcerated on a felony sentence, they can vote. In Hennepin County alone this means that up to 16,000 people had their rights restored thanks to this new law.”
Next year will be a busy year for voters and election officials. In 2024, Minnesotans will have the opportunity to go to the polls three different times and will have the chance to vote for various local, state, and federal officeholders.
There will be a presidential primary on March 5, the state primary election on August 13, and the general election will be held on Nov 5. These races promise to attract large numbers of voters. Casting a ballot in this year’s election can help voters prepare for next year’s voting.
“When people vote this year, they can get prepared and make sure their registration is current or updated,” said McComas. “We do encourage people to vote in all of the elections they are eligible to vote in. We do see lower turnouts in odd years, but these races are important. Let your voice be heard.”
If you don’t vote this year or don’t have an election to vote in, you can register online at mnvotes.gov.