By Ellen Rossow
Election Day is fast approaching. With polls opening in just a week, a decent understanding of state voting laws is vital to an effective and efficient voting experience.
As many MSUM students are residents of surrounding states, the laws of various states, particularly Minnesota and North Dakota, have potential to effect a voter’s experience at the polls.
Where is home?
Regardless of state, it is essential for a voter to decide where they plan to claim residency. As a college student, this decision is especially important, as voters often have more than one place they call “home” – their hometown and their college town.After choosing the state in which to claim one’s residency, one must adhere to that state’s voter registration laws.
Minnesota requires voter registration for its residents. The deadline for this registration has already passed for this election, but the state offers the ability to register on Election Day at your polling site. However, this may lead to a longer time spent at the polls.
For North Dakota residents, voter registration is not required.
Voter ID laws
If Minnesota voters have followed the proper registration procedures, additional ID is not required on Election Day. Minnesotans can check the status of their registration at mnvotes.sos.mn.su/voterstatus.
For voters that are aware of incomplete registration, have changed their name or address, or haven’t voted within the last four years, proof of residence must be provided on Election Day.
Acceptable forms of ID include:
- A drivers license with the voter’s current address
- A drivers license with an old address accompanied by a document with a current address
- Another registered voter who can confirm your name and address, accompanied by a college ID
- A college ID accompanied by a student housing list
- Notice of late registration – a voter would receive this upon registering after the cutoff date of Oct 14
Voters who do not provide proper identification or registration forms cannot vote. To prevent confusion on Election Day, Minnesota voters are encouraged to pre-register with all proper information.
MSUM will host a voting location in the CMU on Election Day, for those registered to vote in this area.
Though North Dakota does not require voters registration, all North Dakotan voters must have proper identification. Acceptable forms of ID in North Dakota are:
A government issued state ID, tribal ID, or driver’s license.
A student ID certificate
Valid long-term care certificate.
Regardless of location, the right and privilege to vote should be observed by all qualified U.S. citizens. No citizen should feel unprepared; there is an array of tools voters can use to prepare for Election Day. For more information about state-specific voting laws, regulations, or to find a site in your hometown, visit the Secretary of State website for said state. For Minnesota, visit mnvotes.sos.mn.us. For North Dakota visit vip.sos.nd.us.