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MPR News

Minnesota's 2018 election calendar

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Primary voting in Richfield
"I Voted" stickers and "Future Voter" stickers handed out during primary voting on August 14, 2018.
Angela Jimenez for MPR News

Minnesota is in the national political spotlight in 2018, as voters will decide the state's next governor, senators and Congressional seats. Mark your calendars so you don't miss key dates. 

 Sept. 21:  Absentee and early voting begins for the state's general election. Voters can cast their ballots beginning today in the November general election. In Minnesota, anyone can vote early with an absentee ballot starting 46 days before Election Day. 

 Sept. 21:  DFL Rep. Betty McCollum and Republican challenger Greg Ryan, running for Minnesota's 4th Congressional District seat,  debated at 11:30 a.m. on MPR News.  The debate aired on the radio and streamed on MPR News.

An early voting pamphlet sits on a table.
An early voting pamphlet sits on a table inside the Ramsey County Elections Plato Building in St. Paul, Minn. on Aug. 13, 2018.
Lacey Young | MPR News

You can vote  by mail,   in person  and if you are in the  military or living abroad.  The Minnesota Secretary State's office even lets you  track your ballot.  

   Sept. 26:  Campaign finance reports are  posted online  offering the first glimpse at how much candidates, political parties and outside groups are raising and spending in the election since the primary. 

While these reports tend to be monitored closely by political insiders, they also give citizens a glimpse at what kind of outside groups and individuals might be trying to influence the election, and which candidates have an advantage in fundraising heading into the general election.  

A voter fills out her primary ballot.
A voter fills out her primary ballot at the Ramsey County Elections Plato Building in St. Paul, Minn. on Aug. 13, 2018.
Lacey Young | MPR News

 Oct. 5:  Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen and his DFL challenger Dean Phillips running for the House of Representatives for Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District seat will debate at 11 a.m. on MPR News. The debate will be aired, streamed on MPR News and be broadcast on  MPR News' Facebook page.  

 Oct. 12:  Republican Jim Hagedorn and DFL Dan Feehan running for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District seat will debate at 11 a.m. on MPR News. The debate will be aired, streamed on MPR News and be broadcast on  MPR News' Facebook page.  

 Oct. 16:  Pre-election registration ends. This marks the last day voters can pre-register to vote in November. It's easy to  do online,  or you can go to your county election office and register in person. It's a convenient option, but don't worry if you miss the deadline: Minnesota also has same-day voter registration at the polls. 

 Oct. 19:  Republican Rep. Tom Emmer and his DFL challenger Ian Todd running for Minnesota's 6th Congressional District seat will debate at 11 a.m. on MPR News. The debate will be aired and streamed on MPR News. 

 Oct. 19:  DFL Rep. Collin Peterson and Republican Dave Hughes running for Minnesota's 7th Congressional District seat will debate at 11:30 a.m. on MPR News. The debate will be aired and streamed on MPR News.

 Oct. 23:  DFL Ilhan Omar and Republican Jennifer Zielinski, running for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District seat, will debate at 2:30 p.m. on MPR News. The debate will be aired on the radio and streamed on MPR News.

 Oct. 23:  Campaigns must start reporting large contributions 24 hours after they are received. This marks a high-intensity part of the campaign for outside groups to spend in the race to try and influence the outcome. Citizens can track the big dollars flowing into races up to the day they are coming in.

   Oct. 26:   DFL Joe Radinovich and Republican Pete Stauber running for Minnesota's 8th Congressional District seat will debate at 11 a.m. on MPR News. The debate will be aired, streamed on MPR News and be broadcast on  MPR News' Facebook page.    

 Oct. 30:  Final pre-election campaign finance reports are posted online, giving voters one final look at how much candidates, political parties and outside groups have raised and spent ahead of the general election.

 Nov. 4:  MPR News hosted Senate debate between DFL Sen. Tina Smith and Republican challenger Karin Housley at 5 p.m. at the Fitzgerald Theater, 10 East Exchange St., St. Paul. Doors open at 4 p.m. The debate is open to the public. The debate will be aired, streamed on MPR News and be broadcast on  MPR News' Facebook page.  

 Nov. 4:  MPR News hosted gubernatorial debate between DFL candidate Tim Walz and Republican candidate Jeff Johnson at 6 p.m. at the Fitzgerald Theater, 10 East Exchange St., St. Paul. Doors open at 4 p.m. The debate is open to the public. The debate will be aired, streamed on MPR News and be broadcast on  MPR News' Facebook page.  

 Nov. 6:  Election Day. Polls across the state will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. If you are in line to vote before the polls close, state law requires that you get to cast your ballot.

   Nov. 20:  Signed, sealed delivered. The Minnesota state canvassing board — a group of five members, including judges and the Secretary of state — meets to certify the results of the election and make it official. In this stage, state officials could also oversee any possible recount of results for a particular office, at the request of a losing candidate.

Find  complete coverage  on MPR News.