The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 1, 2008

A primer for first-time voters

Minnesota allows registration at the polls

MANKATO — First-time voter Andrew Peterson has the I.D., he’s picked up the form early and he knows where to vote, but the 22-year-old Mankatoan still doesn’t know what to expect on Election Day.

“Everything to me is new,” he said after stopping by the Blue Earth County license center last week in an attempt to register to vote. Pre-registration is closed, but Peterson was able to pick up a form that will make same-day registration go a bit faster.

“It’d just be nice to know what to expect,” he said.

Getting prepared

To register on Election Day, a voter in Minnesota must prove their identity and their place of current residence, said Patty O’Connor, head of elections at Blue Earth County.

A driver’s license (it can be expired) with a current address satisfies both of those requirements. A yellow receipt also works instead of a card if it shows a current address.

A driver’s license or a state-issued I.D. card with a past address works along with proof of current address.

Typically, a utility bill — cable, cell phone, gas, electric, water, sewer, garbage, satellite, etc. — is used, but it has to be due within 30 days of the election. Bills paid online can be printed out with a personal computer.

A student tuition statement with current address or a rent statement with itemized utilities also can be used.

If you can’t get a utility bill with your address on it, vouching is an option.

A voter can be accompanied to the polls by a registered voter in the precinct. People can’t vouch for each other; the person doing the vouching has to show residency through documents.

To find your polling place, go to http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/

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