lwvdakotacty@lwvmn.org
© 2020 League of Women Voters of Dakota County
Contact Us | Contact Webmaster

Voter Resources

Upcoming Elections and Caucuses

​​​

 
 
 
 
 
 

2020 Precinct Caucuses

Precinct caucuses are the first in a series of meetings at which Minnesota's political parties chose their party leadership, endorse candidates for a variety of offices including state and federal candidates, and adopt or revise planks of their party platform. Caucuses are run by the parties rather than the government and each party has slightly different rules for how they are conducted. To vote at a precinct caucus, you must be eligible to vote in the 2020 general election, you must reside in the precinct, and you must generally support the principles of the party hosting the caucus. Once the locations for each precinct caucus have been established, they will be available here. Unlike previous years, in 2020 precinct caucus participants will not vote on presidential candidates. Minnesotans will instead select their parties' nominees for president at the presidential primary election, held one week after the precinct caucuses. More information on precinct caucuses is available from the Secretary of State's office here and from LWV Minnesota here

Presidential Primary Election

2020 is the first year since 1992 in which Minnesotans will participate in their political parties' selection of a presidential candidate by voting in a primary election rather than at their parties' caucuses. In many ways, the presidential primary is very similar to the statewide primary held every even-numbered year for federal, state, and some local offices, but there are a few notable differences. First, election day will be March 3, with absentee voting beginning January 17. Second, in 2020 only Republican Party of Minnesota and Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidates will be on the ballots. Third, voters must ratify the statement that "I am in general agreement with the principles of the party for whose candidate I intend to vote" in order to cast a ballot. Fourth, there will be separate ballots for each party, and while a voter's party-selection will be shielded from disclosure to the general public, that information is required to be disclosed to the four major political parties in Minnesota, including those that do not participate in the presidential primary.
 

More information about the presidential primary is available from LWV Minnesota, there is an excellent fact sheet compiled by Minnesota House Research available here, and there is a wealth of information available on the Secretary of State's website. The Secretary of State's office has also created a printable two-page fact sheet.

Those wishing to vote absentee in the presidential primary may do so by completing this absentee ballot application and returning it by mail, assuming there is sufficient time to do so. If you are not registered, you may register to vote when requesting an absentee ballot. Any Dakota County voter may obtain an absentee ballot in person at the following locations during regular business hours:

Voters who are residents of the following cities may also obtain an absentee ballot at their designated municipal office during regular business hours. Except for Mendota Heights, all locations listed below are open from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday.

2020 Township Elections

Voters should contact their township or Dakota County Elections with questions about their township election. Absentee ballots for township elections will be available at Dakota County's Administration Center in Hastings and Western Service Center in Apple Valley starting February 7, 2020.

Register to Vote

You can verify whether you are registered to vote at your current address here. You will need to re-register if you move to a new address, change your legal name, or do not vote throughout a four-year period. Most voters can register to vote online. Voters may also register to vote via a paper application that must be mailed or delivered to the Minnesota Secretary of State's office in St. Paul or their county elections office. Dakota County's elections office is in Hastings and Scott County's elections office is in Shakopee. If you are not registered, there are less than 21 days before the election, and you intend to vote in person on election day, you will need to register to vote at your polling place immediately prior to voting. Instructions for election-day registration are available here and a guide with pictures of what you will need to bring to the polling place is available here. Those casting absentee ballots may register to vote at the same time as mailing or casting their ballot in person, even if doing so less than 21 days prior to election day.

 

Voters may seek assistance or raise concerns regarding voting and registering to vote by contacting the MN Secretary of State's office by phone at 877-600-VOTE (8683) or via email at secretary.state@state.mn.us. Dakota County voters may contact the Dakota County Elections office by phone at 651-438-4305 or via email at elections@co.dakota.mn.us. Scott County voters may contact the Scott County Elections Department by phone at 952-496-8560 or via email at scelections@co.scott.mn.us.

For those who are assisting others seeking to register online, the Minnesota Secretary of State's office has created a PowerPoint presentation that will walk you and those registering through the process.

How to Vote

Voters choosing to cast their ballot in person on election day can find their voting location via the polling place finder. For most elections, voters will also be able to access a sample ballot shortly before election day.​

With the exception of some special elections and township elections, absentee voting begins 46 days prior to each election. Voters may obtain and return an absentee ballot and do not need to have or provide a reason for voting absentee. Absentee ballots may be cast by mail and voters do not need to be registered to vote prior to requesting an absentee ballot. If a voter needs to register or update their registration, they can do so by including a voter registration application with their mailed absentee ballot. Absentee ballots that are mailed must be received by the voter's county elections office by election day. Voters can track their absentee ballot hereSpecial provisions apply to anyone voting absentee who is living outside the United States, or is a member of the U.S. military serving outside his/her home precinct, as well as his/her spouse and dependents.

For most county, state, and federal elections, those wishing to vote absentee may request an absentee ballot starting 46 days prior to the election. Dakota County voters may obtain and/or return an absentee ballot in person during normal business hours at Dakota County's elections office in Hastings as well as other locations which vary by election, but typically include the Northern Service Center (West St. Paul), the Western Service Center (Apple Valley), and several municipal offices. Scott County voters may obtain and/or return an absentee ballot in person during normal business hours at Scott County's Public Works Building in Jordan. Voters may return completed absentee ballots in person up until 3 p.m. on election day. Dakota County has confirmed that absentee ballots delivered to the Northern Service Center or Western Service Center will be treated as received by its elections department at the time they are delivered to either service center. Under state law absentee voting must be available at each county's elections office, as well as other locations offering in-person absentee voting, during normal business hours on weekdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the Saturday prior to election day, and until 5:00 p.m. the day before election day, unless that falls on a Saturday or Sunday. Whether returned by mail or in person, a voter can ask to cancel a returned absentee ballot until the close of business one week before election day by contacting their county elections office.

 

Another form of in-person absentee voting, sometimes referred to as early voting, in which ballots are deposited directly into a tabulator, is available during the 7 days prior to most elections. Early voting locations and hours are typically made available on Dakota County's website prior to each election. Scott County voters may access information about absentee voting here.

Candidate Forums

Video of past candidate forums is available within our candidate forums archive.

Additional Resources