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Court Rules Absentee Ballots Must be Received by November 3 to Ensure They are Counted

Updated: Nov 1, 2020

On October 29, 2020, an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled 2-1 that Minnesota election officials must segregate absentee ballots received in the mail after election day from those received on or before election day in order for a court to decide whether they should be counted. The court did not rule on the merits of the case, in which the plaintiffs allege that counting ballots received after election day violates federal law. Rather, the court ordered that in order to resolve that dispute, mailed absentee ballots received from November 4 through November 10 must be kept separate from other ballots so that a court may determine whether those ballots should count, at least with respect to the presidential election.

If you have not voted yet, you may vote at your polling place on election day, November 3, via in-person absentee voting, or by placing your absentee ballot in an official drop box. The Dakota County offices in Hastings, Apple Valley, and West St Paul will be open for in-person absentee voting from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 31, Sunday, November 1, and Monday, November 2. A full list of in-person absentee voting locations in Dakota and Scott counties is available on our Voter Resources page.

Update: Secretary Simon released the following statement on October 30: "In consultation with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, we have decided not to seek a stay of the 8th Circuit decision at the US Supreme Court. We disagree with the court’s decision, and there may be cause for litigation later. While Minnesota will comply with the 8th Circuit's ruling to segregate the ballots received after November 3, we need to emphasize that there is no court ruling yet saying those ballots are invalid. We absolutely reserve the right to make every argument after Election Day that protects voters. For now, our focus is to make sure that every Minnesota voter knows to cast their ballot by 8 p.m. on November 3, and that every ballot legally cast is counted.”

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