Direct balloting kicks off Tuesday in Minnesota

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(ABC 6 News) – Tuesday, in-person direct voting kicked off across in counties and cities across Minn.

According to the Minn. Secretary of State’s office, there is a high voter turnout expected for the midterm elections next Tues. Already, the state has received over 376,000 ballots in Minn.

Direct balloting allows in-person voters to insert their ballots directly into a ballot tabulator at the absentee voting location. Voters also have the option to place their absentee ballot into an envelope to be processed and tabulated later during the direct balloting period.

According to ABC 6’s political analyst, Shane Baker, if you choose to vote today, those direct ballots will be counted right away. However, if you voted before today, those votes are counted on election night.

“For those of you who need to vote early for whatever reason, you have some obvious direct and overt assurance that it has been counted just like everyone else with direct balloting,” Baker explains.

Direct balloting is available from Nov. 1 through Nov. 7. According to Olmsted County Communications Specialist, Rachel Wick, those living in Olmsted County can drop their ballots off at the Olmsted Government Center as well as the Olmsted County Elections Office at 2122 Campus Dr. SE, Suite 300 in Rochester.

In Olmsted County, parking will be available in the Gov. Center Parking lot at any of the metered spots that are covered and labeled as “free voter parking”.

This is available Nov. 1 through Nov. 4 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Nov. 5 it is open between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The final day is Nov. 7 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The ability to cast a direct absentee ballot is just one of many ways to cast your vote in Minn. Some are opting to vote on election day.

“I like the the rhythm of voting and going into the booth to cast my ballot,” said Minn. voter Jennifer Stokes. “I’m gonna wait and do it with all of the other proud Minnesotans on election day

If you are voting by mail and have a ballot at home, the Secretary of State urges you to mail it in by Tues. as your ballot must be in by 8 p.m. on election night. After Tues., voters are encouraged to bring your ballot directly to your county election office to ensure it is received on time.

The 21-day period to register online or by mail for the Nov. 8 general election has passed. If you are not registered to vote, you can register when you vote absentee or at your designated polling location on Election Day. Information on what you need to bring can be found on the Minnesota Secretary of State website. Voters must be at least 18 years old on Election Day.

While these next few days are crucial for candidates, the final push is getting people to the polls.

“The energy at this point isn’t at all about converting anybody,” explained Baker. “It’s about motivating them to actually go out and vote.”

Baker says with the election a week away, voters have a good idea of whose names they are circling on the ballot.

“At this point I am pretty much set on who I am voting for,” said Brian Landy, another voter in Minn. “I do think that if something comes up that’s unknown, unforeseen and it’s true, that could sway me one way or the other. That’s possible, but I think I’m pretty much set.”

Although voters are casting their ballots for different candidates and in different ways, all agree that it is critical to make your voice heard this election.

“This is a very important election and I think really everyone should get out and vote,” said Winona voter, Denise Grafenberg.

If you have any voting questions, you can call the Secretary of State hotline: 1-877-600-VOTE (8683).

To find your polling location, click here.

Click here for some helpful Election Day tips.