Beginning Friday, Jan. 17, those wishing to cast their
votes early for the Presidential Nomination Primary (PNP) to be conducted March
3 can do so at the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office on the second floor of the Wright
County Government Center in Buffalo. In addition, six cities – Albertville,
Buffalo, Delano, Hanover, Monticello and St. Michael – will also begin accepting
early ballots Jan. 17 at their respective city halls during regular business
hours. It should be noted that to vote from one of the city absentee ballot locations, one must be a resident of that city.
For those looking to vote at the county’s Government
Center, ballots can be cast during standard open hours between 8 a.m. and 4:30
p.m. Monday through Friday. In addition, the Government Center will be open
from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29 and, on Monday, March 2, the Auditor/Treasurer’s
Office will remain open until 5 p.m. in the days leading up to the Super
As a reminder, as part of the PNP process, a voter
must declare party preference. There are four major parties on the Minnesota
ballot for this election cycle – Republican, Democrat, Grassroots – Legalize Cannabis Party and Legalize Marijuana Now Party.
However, only the Democrats and Republicans submitted a list of candidates, so
those will be the only two ballot options, whether voting early or on Presidential
Nomination Primary Day March 3.
Those who choose not to declare a party affiliation will
not be allowed to cast a ballot because the ballots are party-specific – if you
predominantly vote Democrat, you will only receive a ballot of Democrat
candidates and the same applies for Republicans. The party a voter chooses will
be recorded and, while it remains private data, a list of who voted and what
party affiliation they identified in the PNP will be provided to the chair of
each of the four major political parties. Who a person voted for will remain secret.
2020 will mark just the fifth time in state history
that Minnesota has conducted a PNP – the others being 1916, 1952, 1956 and
1992. After long lines and some sites running out of ballots during the 2016 Minnesota
presidential caucuses, then-Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bipartisan bill to make Minnesota
a primary state. The caucuses will still take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25,
but the PNP will determine Minnesota’s delegates for each major party.