The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 4, 2012

Our View: Little reason to skip voting

The Free Press

— There’s no monster storm in southern Minnesota’s forecast for Tuesday, so you should be able to get to the polls to vote without that sort of obstacle.

Even if you neglected to register ahead of time, Minnesota allows same-day voter registration for eligible residents. All you need to do is bring evidence of your current name and address, such as a driver’s license, I.D. card, utility bill or a rent statement that itemizes utilities. You also can ask a voter registered in the same precinct to vouch for you.

 Of  all those choices, and a few others, only one method of proof is needed. (See and click “Election 2012” on the left-side column for a link to the secretary of state’s website for full details.)

And if you aren’t going to be able to vote at your local poll Tuesday, you still have today to vote absentee ballot in person at your county auditor’s office.

 There aren’t a lot of excuses for not voting if you are eligible. Minnesota’s voter turnout is historically high because it is very accommodating to exercising the right to vote.

 Although the campaign season draws the most attention to the presidential race, lots of other races are going to be on your ballot. They may include candidates vying for Congress as well as those running for legislative spots.

Local races may include city council, county board and school board candidates as well as school district levy requests. Don’t forget to flip your ballot over. Some of these more local races are on the back side in area counties.

 Judicial candidates and soil and water conservation district supervisors sometimes catch voters by surprise who haven’t heard much about the under-the-radar candidates. Again the secretary of state website will walk you through the specific races that will be on your ballot.

In addition to voting on candidates, all of the state’s voters will see two constitutional amendment proposals on the ballot. The first asks voters whether the constitution should be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman be recognized. The second asks should the constitution be amended to require all voters to present valid photo identification and require the state to provide free I.D. to eligible voters.

For those who haven’t already voted by mail or via absentee ballot, polls are generally open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

To make a difference and have your voice heard, you have to participate in democracy.