Depending on where you live, your ballot might look slightly different than the sample shown here. All Minnesota ballots, however, have a slate of partisan races that are divided on the front and back, and it’s potentially confusing.
First, the easy part: If you live on the western side of Duluth, you’ll see the District Three St. Louis County Commissioner race in addition to the partisan races. If you’re on the east side of Duluth, you won’t see a county commissioner race on the ballot because the incumbent is unopposed in district two.
Now the confusing part: Although there are numerous candidates who are not appearing on the primary ballot because they are unopposed, some partisan races appear on the ballot even when they are not contested because an opposing party has a contested primary and the party with the uncontested race doesn’t want you to forget it is putting a candidate forward.
Therefore, here’s where it gets tricky: When voting in the partisan races you must choose a party and vote a straight ticket, choosing candidates from one party only, as explained on the ballot. That seems simple enough when you see the row of Republican candidates and row of Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidates on one side, but when you flip it over …
… there are two more parties with candidates for federal offices — the Legal Marijuana Now and Grassroots Legalize Cannabis parties. None of those candidates are opposed in their party, but they are on the ballot and can be voted for instead of Republican or DFL candidates. If you vote for Republican or DFL candidates on one side of the ballot and then get confused and think the other side is a different set of contests, your ballot will be spoiled and your votes won’t count.
So pay attention.
Due to COVID-19, the public is encouraged to vote by mail. Visit mnvotes.org to submit an absentee ballot request or visit duluthmn.gov/city-clerk. A witness is not required for 2020 primary ballots of registered voters. Voters are encouraged to mail return ballots by Aug. 5 to ensure delivery before Election Day, so the window to request and receive a ballot by mail is closing soon.
Voters can also return ballots in person to Duluth City Hall. Absentee ballots must be received by the city clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Citizens can also vote in person until Aug. 10 at city hall with no appointment needed. Stay safe protocols are in place at city hall and masks are available for voters. The hours for early voting are:
Monday through Friday – 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 4 – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 10 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For those who choose to vote in person, Primary Election Day is Aug. 11. The General Election will take place Nov. 3.
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