Doing your taxes? Why not register to vote, too?

Registering to vote for the first time
University of Minnesota students register to vote at Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis in November 2014.
Judy Griesedieck for MPR News 2014

This tax season, which started Monday, the state of Minnesota has created one more way to turn residents into voters.

This year, when Minnesotans file their taxes through state-approved electronic filing systems like TurboTax or others, they'll see a new prompt in the long series of tax-return questions asking if they'd like to register to vote.

The message directs the taxpayer to mnvotes.org, the Minnesota Secretary of State's website, where any eligible voter with an email address can register to vote online.

"Minnesota law requires that individual income tax return forms and instruction booklets include voter registration forms," said Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly. "This year, we worked with tax software providers to get voter registration information integrated into their products to reach the large segment of taxpayers who file electronically."

The extra reminder is a critical step toward getting the approximately 700,000 eligible citizens who have not yet registered to vote to go through the process, said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.

Minnesota's consistently high voter turnout is in part attributed to the variety of ways Minnesotans can register.

Here's a quick look at how to lock in your right to vote:

Register online

In order to register online you'll need an email address to confirm your registration. In addition, you'll be required to submit your Minnesota driver's license or state ID card number.

If you don't have either of those, you can also submit the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Note: If you are a participant in Minnesota's Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program, do not register to vote or update your registration online. Contact Safe at Home at 1-866-723-3035.

Register on paper

In order to register on paper, you'll need to print out a voter registration application in the language of your choice.

After you've filled out the application, either mail it in or drop it off at your county election office or the Secretary of State's office in St. Paul.

The state encourages voters registering on paper to send their application before Election Day, since processing by mail can take several days.

Register on Election Day

In Minnesota any eligible voter can register at their polling place on Election Day as long as they bring an approved proof of residence.

If you don't have a proof of residence, a registered Minnesota voter can vouch for you, signing a document confirming you're a resident.

Special cases

College students

Students should use the place they consider to be home as their current residence. This could be the school you attend or a parent/guardian's house.

You can still register in Minnesota if you came from another state, as long as you consider your school address your home.

Members of the military and citizens living abroad

Members of the military serving abroad can have a spouse, parent, sibling or child over the age of 18 apply for registration on their behalf.

The same is true for U.S. citizens who are living abroad, though this only applies for those who intend to return to Minnesota.

Homeless residents

If you are homeless, you can register using the place where you most often sleep as your address.

If you register before Election Day, you will have to swear under oath that you are sleeping at that location when you go to your polling place to vote. If you register on Election Day, you will need another registered voter to accompany you to the polling place and confirm where you live.

Information from the Minnesota Secretary of State website.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.