How do I vote?

General Election Day is November 3, 2020.

Whether you are a first-time voter or registered to vote in another district in the United States, the easiest way to find out how and where to vote is through the national TurboVote platform. It will also provide you with reminders, if you sign up for them.

Identifying which state to register and vote in

Voting by mail

This year, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Minnesota Secretary of State is encouraging people to vote by mail using an absentee ballot. This is also true for many more states.  Most states (37 plus D.C.) allow early/absentee/voting by mail. Most of these states (27 plus D.C.) allow for “no excuse” early voting, meaning you do not need to provide a reason why you’re voting early. (Nudge: Minnesota is one!). Check the  U.S. Vote Foundation’s non-partisan website to verify your state’s important registration deadlines, options for voting in person or by mail, and to find links to your state election office. TurboVote will work with all of the early voting states and it will give you useful information on where and when to vote. 

Voting in Minnesota

Important Minnesota election dates

Step 1: Register

  • ID: If you need to register when you vote on Election Day, November 3, and you live on campus, you only need to bring your one card. This is because Carleton has supplied the on-campus housing rosters to election officials, so they already have proof of your address at the polls. Individuals who have suppressed their identity on the Carleton directory should plan to register in advance of the deadline or consult the Dean’s Office, if registering on Election Day, to ensure that election officials will be able to verify their residence using a OneCard.
  • Residence Address: A student living in Nourse Hall would list “0″ as their house number and “Nourse Hall Carleton College” as their street address, a student living in Freedom House would list “0 Williams House Carleton College”, and a student living in QTPOC House would list “0 Henrickson House Carleton College.” 
  • Mailing Address: You cannot receive mail at your Carleton residence hall address. Therefore, you must also provide a mailing address. Enter “1 N. College Street” in the P.O. Box address line for your mailing address.

Step 2: Request an absentee ballot

In Minnesota, anyone can vote by mail (a.k.a. vote absentee) and the MN Secretary of State recommends it this year due to the pandemic. You do not need an excuse or special reason. To vote by mail, request an absentee ballot online. Do this 3 – 5 days after you register to vote online, once this website shows your registration has been processed. Don’t wait. Mail in your ballot well before November 3. 

Step 3: Vote

  1. To vote by mail: On October 29th, MN Secretary of State Steven Simon said that this close to Election Day, voters should no longer mail their absentee ballots, but instead deliver their ballots to their county election office by hand, or cast a vote in person with an absentee ballot up until November 2nd, or cast a vote in person on Election Day. (The Rice County election office is in Faribault.) There may be legal challenges in MN about the validity of absentee ballots received after November 3rd. If you have already returned your ballot, you can track your absentee ballot here to confirm it’s been accepted. **
  2. To vote early in person: Go to Northfield City Hall. It’s easiest to do this after you’ve registered to vote. If you’re not registered, you need to bring photo ID and proof of address. For a Carleton proof of address, send an email requesting your “Fee Statement with Housing Assignment” from studentaccounts@carleton.edu. You will receive a PDF you can show when you vote. Alternatively, you can have someone already registered at Carleton vouch for you by bringing them to City Hall.  Avoid going in large groups. This is a small office, and social distancing is required.
  3. To vote in person on election day, November 3:

This year, Carleton voters will not vote at the UCC church across from the Weitz Center as many have in the past. Instead, voters living in on-campus housing (Ward 1-Precinct 1 and Ward 4-Precinct 1) will go to Saint John’s Lutheran Church, 500 3rd St W, Northfield, 0.8 miles, or a 15 minute walk from Carleton. The polling place is different this year due to the pandemic and the need for additional space to allow for social distancing. 

Note: Some of you, including those on Northfield option may vote at other locations. View the Northfield map with polling places here or check your polling location here (Leave the house number blank and select your residence hall or house name in the drop down menu.) 

Registering on Election Day

  • If you are registered to vote, your name will be on a list of voters. You’ll just need your signature. 
  • If you aren’t registered, Minnesota offers same-day voter registration on Election Day.
    • If you live on campus, you can prove your residency with your OneCard. 
    • If you live in Northfield Option Housing, proof of residency may consist of a copy of a lease or a bill inscribed with your mailing address. Students may also be asked to write down their social security number. 
    • If you do not have this documentation, you may also have another registered voter from your same precinct vouch for you. They must accompany you to the polls.
  • For more information, see the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

Getting There & Shuttle Bus

A map to St. John’s is below. In addition to the option to walk, bike, or carpool with your social pod, we will be offering a socially-distanced shuttle bus to and from the polls at St. John’s Church. It will run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. leaving from Willis every 15 minutes. Because of the pandemic, capacity on the bus will be reduced and masks will be required.  Update: The shuttle will start running at 9 a.m., not 10 a.m. as previously stated.

Hours

Allow plenty of time at the polls this year, as there could be a long line. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. As long as you’re in line by 8 p.m., you can vote, even if you do not reach the front of the line until after 8 p.m.

Walking Map to St. John's Church Polling Place

Other Elections Resources

Carleton Voter Zoom Office Hours

Carleton Voter Zoom Office Hours

Have any questions about voting? Voting resources? Drop by to our Office Hours with Clarissa Guzman, CCCE Peace and Conflict Fellow, and ask away. Thursdays 7-8 pm. Zoom. 

Where to go with questions

Where to go with questions

  • If you have trouble voting at the polls on Election Day, you can call 866-OUR-VOTE, a non-partisan voter helpline, or visit 8666ourvote.org for chat assistance.
  • If you have questions or concerns about voting regulations in Minnesota, call Minnesota Secretary of State 1-877-600-VOTE or visit mnvotes.org
  • If you have questions about early voting at Northfield City Hall, contact Northfield City Clerk’s Office at 507-645-3001 or this website.
  • If you need help making your voting plan before election day, email Yuki Nagaoka or Clarissa Guzman, CCCE Peace and Conflict Fellows at nagaokay@carleton.edu or guzmanc@carleton.edu or come to our office hours on Thursdays, 7-8 pm, zoom.

Elections FAQ

I voted here in the last election. Do I need to re-register?

Almost certainly yes. If you are living in a different dorm, you MUST re-register. You can do this online or in person on the election day. It saves you time and reduces lines at the polls if you pre-register!

To vote you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 years old on Election Day
  • A resident of Minnesota for 20 days
  • Finished with all parts of any felony sentence

How do I vote from abroad?

COVID-19 safety information for Northfield voting locations

  • Voters are requested to wear a mask in the City Hall building and while voting.
  • Physical distancing restrictions will be in place. 
  • The voting room will be restricted to voters only due to limited number of people that can be in the room at one time. 
  • Be prepared for lines, due to distancing and other protective measures that will be place.
  • Please note the absentee/early voting location is not equivalent to a regular polling location. There is limited space and limited staff available at the location during the 6-week absentee/early voting period.

What to do on election day

The first step to voting is registering. You may only vote once in every election. Once you arrive at your voting location (polling place) you will go to an election judge and they will walk you through the process. 

  • If you are registered to vote, your name will be on a list of voters. You’ll just need your signature. 
  • If you aren’t registered, Minnesota offers same-day voter registration on Election Day.
    • If you live on campus, you can prove your residency with your OneCard. 
    • If you live in Northfield Option Housing, proof of residency may consist of a copy of a lease or a bill inscribed with your mailing address. Students may also be asked to write down their social security number. 
    • If you do not have this documentation, you may also have another registered voter from your same precinct vouch for you. They must accompany you to the polls.
  • For more information, see the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

If you have any questions, call the Minnesota Secretary of State 1-877-600-VOTE, Northfield City Clerk’s Office at 507-645-3001 or email Yuki Nagaoka or Clarissa Guzman, CCCE Peace and Conflict Fellows at nagaokay@carleton.edu or guzmanc@carleton.edu. If you have trouble voting at the polls on Election Day, you can call 866-OUR-VOTE, a non-partisan voter helpline, or visit 8666ourvote.org for chat assistance.

What’s on the ballot?

  • In Northfield: President, U.S. Senator, US Representative District 2, State Senate District 20, State Representative District 20B, County Commissioner, Mayor, City Council at Large, School board, State Supreme Court, and more.
  • Across the Country: Consult Vote411.org, a non-partisan resource by the League of Women Voters, to learn what’s on your ballot.
  •  To learn more about candidates in local races, look by county or city on the MN Secretary of State Candidate Filings page.  
  • **On 10/9/20, a federal judge ruled that votes for the U.S. 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by Angie Craig will be counted with the current election instead of in a February special election. Even though the case is being appealed, be sure to fill out your ballot completely!

Minnesota Political Parties and Groups

State Political Parties

Rice Country Political Parties

Local Civic Organizations

St. Olaf College

Contacting Our Congressional Representative

Congresswoman Angie Craig was sworn in as our representative from the MN-2 District to House of Representatives on January 3, 2019. Representative Craig’s website has information about her background and her stand on the issues affecting our district. You may wish to subscribe to her newsletter, which will keep you informed about the congressman’s actions. You may also wish to contact Rep. Craig’s offices.

Constituent service and listening to constituents in the district is a core responsibility of any member of Congress. Since all full-time students can be considered residents in MN-2, then Rep. Craig’s office is going to be very interested in what you have to say about any of the major issues before the 116th Congress. (Non-residents of MN-2 are not likely to have their opinions taken with the same weight).

Getting to Know Minnesota’s 2nd District

If you want to know more about MN-2, check out this map of the district and check out the district Wikipedia page. (See this map of all congressional districts in MN). Only the northern portion of Rice county is in MN-2 – that is, mostly Northfield and not Faribault.

Local Newspapers

You may be wondering about writing to editors of local newspapers in MN-2. Besides the Northfield News, the largest newspaper in MN-2 is SunThisWeek.

CCCE Support for Political Engagement and Activism on Campus

How the CCCE Supports Political Engagement and Activism on Campus

The CCCE supports political engagement and activism in the following ways:

List of Activist Student Organizations and Leadership

The CCCE maintains a list of all active political/activist student organizations and the contact information of their leaders, which can be found below. This information can also be viewed with a bit more description on handouts available outside the CCCE, Sayles 150.

CCCE Politics Listserv and Political Engagement Updates

The CCCE has a bi-weekly email that compiles upcoming opportunities related to political events, as well as broader Peace & Conflict programming. If you want to be added, email Yuki Nagaoka or Clarissa Guzman, CCCE Peace and Conflict Fellows at nagaokay@carleton.edu or guzmanc@carleton.edu. If you ever want to publicize an upcoming opportunity on this email list, email a brief blurb to Yuki or Clarissa.

Funding and Transportation

The CCCE has supported student organization and initiatives in the past by helping to fund small expenditures for an upcoming meeting or event (This would be for expenses such as food or room set-ups. The CCCE does not fund speakers or large expenses as this is more within CSA’s realm). We also have offered transportation for activist events via EcoTrans, campus fleet vehicles, and other options.

To request funding or transportation, please email tysonj@carleton.edu with the following information:

  • A description of the event including date and location
  • Why you believe there is a need for this event on campus, what organization you represent
  • How many people you plan on attending
  • Exactly how much money you are requesting and exactly what you plan on spending it on (if it is a funding request)
  • Whether this event is open to all of campus.

We will review this request and should be able to get back to you in a timely manner. We currently ask that all requests be sent at least a week in advance.

General Guidance and Support

The CCCE is always happy to assist students and student organizations with a variety of general guidance and institutional knowledge. This includes providing help figuring out how to get chartered or request funding from CSA (student government), assistance making a room reservation or putting a request through Print Services, and how to publicize an event or plan a project.

CCCE-Sponsored Events

In addition to these functions, the CCCE also directly sponsors certain events throughout the year in the realm of activism and political engagement. In the past, the CCCE has co-sponsored a Northfield Mayoral Debate and local candidate forums during election years. The CCCE also works in conjunction with the liberal arts consortium, Project Pericles, to sponsor the Debating for Democracy organizing workshop each winter to help better train aspiring activists and citizens on how to organize around a cause.

Educational Resources

For Faculty

  • Ideas & Strategies:
  • Consultation and Support: The Carleton Elections Teaching & Learning Working Group is co-chaired by Al Montero of the Dean of the College Office and Sinda Nichols of the CCCE. Group members: Sean Leahy, Library; Krissy Lunz Trujillo, Political Science; Serena Zabin, History and American Studies, League of Women Voters.

For Staff & Peer Leaders

  • Swag: The CCCE has “I Will Vote” stickers available for student programming. Contact Clarissa Guzman, guzmanc@carleton.edu, or Yuki Nagaoka, nagaokay@carleton.edu.
  • Consultation and Support:
    • The Carleton Peer-to-Peer Voter Education Working Group is co-chaired by Rae Horton of the GSC and Alessa Strelecki of Res Life. Group members: Carolyn Fure-Slocum, Chaplain and Anna Schumacher, WHOA House Coordinator and CCCE fellow.
    • The CSA Student Voting Working Group is co-chaired by Luke Norquist and Molly Zuckerman. Group members include Clarissa Guzman, CCCE Fellow, and Yuki Nagaoka, CCCE Fellow.

Non-Partisan Voter Education Events

How to Vote in a Pandemic (Sayles Tabling)

We will be tabling in Sayles Thursday, October 8, 12:30pm – 1:30pm. Stop by to ask questions and get information on how to register, vote by mail, vote early, or vote in person on November 3. 

Citizenry & Art in Today’s Society Panel Discussion

Thursday, October 8, 6 pm CT  
Join us remotely to observe a panel discussion moderated by VOTE! curator David East as he raises questions surrounding art in our changing environment and the role of civic engagement. The aim of the panel is to further explore the context in which these works operate, within the artist’s life, within the exhibition, and how they work together. Participating in this discussion will be exhibition artists Amber Ginsburg, Kris Grey, Ann Agee, and Ryan W. Kelly. The panel will take your questions to create the opportunity for dialogue and exchange.
Join the live discussion via Zoom: http://bit.ly/CitizenryandArt

Local Candidate Forums

Non-partisan Local Candidate Forums: Learn more about local candidates at the Cannon Falls-Northfield League of Women Voters Candidate Forums. The forums have already taken place. View recordings of the September 26  2020 Candidate Forums (Rice County City Commissioner, MN Senate, MN House) here. View recordings of the October 3 2020 Candidate Forums (Northfield City Council, Northfield Mayor, Northfield School Board) here.

Convocation with Mindy Romero: “The Power of the Youth Vote”

Mindy Romero will give a virtual Convo talk on October 16 from 12:30 – 1:30 entitled “The Power of the Youth Vote.” This political sociologist examines patterns of voting and political under-representation among youth and communities of color.

See our class discussion questions to accompany Romero’s address here.

Directly following her convocation address, Romero will meet with interested students for an informal discussion. Join the conversation from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. here.

Representations of Politics and the Politics of Representation: Art Histories of Authority

October 22, 12:25pm – 1:25pm
Ross Elfline and Jessica Keating in Art History are pulling together this conversation on Representations of Politics and the Politics of Representation:Art Histories of Authority. It’s part of a larger effort to have conversations about politics across a range of disciplines as we approach the election. There will be info provided at the talk about overcoming barriers to voting and voting mechanics, too.
Zoom: https://carleton.zoom.us/j/95040194471?pwd=RmwyekZRcDNQdUpTRVROWG5OMTNEQT09