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Election Day 2019: Everything you need to know to vote

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Election 2018 Minnesota
People line up to vote on the last day of early voting at the Minneapolis Early Vote Center Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Minneapolis.
Jim Mone | AP

With so much focus on the upcoming 2020 presidential election, you may not have thought much about the 2019 elections on Nov. 5. While not every Minnesota community will have something on the ballot, many do and there’s plenty at stake — including city council elections, school referenda and school board elections.

You can find out what’s on your ballot here — then put that research to good use by getting out and voting on Nov. 5.

Here’s everything you need to know to make sure you can cast your vote.

Register to vote

If you haven’t already, make sure you are registered to vote. There are plenty of ways to do it, with Minnesota offering same-day voter registration.

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 for registration

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 Minnesotans

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.

Find your polling place, cast your vote

The Secretary of state has a handy tool for finding out where you go to vote. Simply plug in your address on this web page. Your employer is required by law to allow you time to vote, and if you're still waiting in line when the polls close, don't worry. The law also requires that you get to cast your ballot. Make sure you know your rights as a voter.

Vote early or absentee

Minnesota allows for absentee and early voting by mail all the way up to Nov. 4 — the day before Election Day. Some city and town offices offer in-person early voting, too, but the deadline for that has passed. You don't need to provide a reason if you want to vote absentee.

Request an absentee ballot online, by mail or by fax and after you fill it out be sure to return it to the voting office that sent it to you. You can return up to three ballots for others if you want to save friends or family a trip.

Just don’t wait until the last minute if you plan to vote absentee by mail. Your application can take several days to process and your election office must receive your ballot by Election Day or it won't be counted.