Olmsted County Voters Embracing Early Ballots – Big Time
Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Olmsted County voters are not just breaking records - they are smashing them.
The county elections office reports 47,109 absentee ballots had been accepted at the end of voting on Saturday. The number includes just more than 1,000 people who cast their ballot during in-person absentee voting on Saturday. The office says it anticipates “another 3,000 absentee ballots or more before the deadline of 8 pm Tuesday.”
The office says the total so far this year compares to approximately 17,500 absentee ballots cast in the 2016 and 2018 elections.
The office is also reporting the current number of registered Olmsted County voters is approximately 101,000.
Early voting will continue through 5:00 PM Monday at the two county sites.
In-person voting will take place Tuesday at Olmsted County precincts from 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM.
Here is voting-related information from Rochester and Olmsted County:
Save time by taking these steps
- Make sure you’re registered to vote. Check the status of your registration on the Minnesota Secretary of State website. Please allow extra time at the polls if you need to register.
- Look at a sample ballot ahead of time. Find sample ballots at myballotmn.sos.state.mn.us.
- Double-check your polling location. Multiple voting locations in Rochester have changed for 2020. On November 3, all voters must vote in their assigned polling location. Visit pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us to check your polling place and find maps and a direct link to your sample ballot based on your assigned precinct.
All voters in Olmsted County are reminded to vote at assigned polling locations. Double-check your polling location before going to vote by visiting pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us. Voters without internet access can call the county Elections office at 507-328-7650 and Rochester voters can call the Clerk’s Office at 507-328-2900 for information on how to register and where to vote. Phone lines will be staffed during voting hours from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
It is critical for Olmsted County voters, particularly those that reside in Rochester, to double-check their polling location before going to vote on Election Day. Due to restrictions associated with COVID-19 and other changes to facility availability, nearly one-third of all Rochester precincts are voting in a new location in 2020.
All changes for 2020 include:
- Ward 1, Precincts 1 and 6 – Moved from 4H Building to Mayo High School, located at 1420 11th Ave SE
Ward 1, Precinct 2 and Ward 4, Precinct 6 – Moved from Resurrection Catholic Church to Mayo High School, located at 1420 11th Ave SE
Ward 1, Precinct 5 – Moved from Ascension Evangelical Lutheran Church to Willow Creek Middle School, located at 2425 11th Ave SE
Ward 1, Precinct 7 – Moved from Rochester Township Hall to Alternative Learning Center, located at 37 Woodlake Dr SE
Ward 2, Precinct 3 – Moved from Shorewood Senior Housing-Shorewood Place to Folwell Elementary, located at 603 15th Ave SW
Ward 2, Precinct 4 – Moved from Olmsted History Center to Autumn Ridge Church, located at 3611 Salem Rd SW
Ward 2, Precinct 5 – Moved from High Point Church to Harriet Bishop Elementary School, located at 406 36th Ave NW
Ward 2, Precinct 7 – Moved from Shorewood Senior Housing-Shorewood Commons to Folwell Elementary, located at 603 15th Ave SW
Ward 3, Precinct 3 – Moved from Sunset Trails Apartments to Gage Elementary School, located at 1300 40th St NW
Ward 3, Precinct 4 – Moved from Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church to Gage Elementary School, located at 1300 40th St NW
Ward 4, Precinct 4 – Moved from Olmsted County Building #2117 to UCR Regional Sports Center, located at 2900 UCR Place SE
Ward 5, Precinct 1 – Moved from Northrop Community Center to Kellogg Middle School, located at 503 17th St NE
Ward 6, Precinct 1 – Moved from Holy Cross Lutheran Church to Hoover Elementary School, located at 369 Elton Hills Dr NW
Ward 6, Precinct 4 – Moved from True Life (Formerly Gethsemane Lutheran) Church to Sunset Terrace Elementary School, located at 1707 19th Ave NW
Ward 6, Precinct 6 – Moved from Oasis Church to Gage Elementary School, located at 1300 40th St NW
As a reminder, curbside voting is available at all voting locations for voters who may have difficulty leaving their vehicles and entering a polling place for any reason. In curbside voting, two election judges bring all materials to voters in their cars. All Olmsted County and Rochester polling locations will have a clearly identified area for curbside voting. While this option is available at all polling locations, there is a larger designated area for voters in Ward 4, Precinct 1, who vote at the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) in University Square at 111 Broadway Ave S. The curbside voting area for this downtown location will be clearly signed along Broadway Avenue. Voters can also take advantage of one hour of free parking available in adjacent ramps in order to vote at this location, and there will also be designated voter only handicapped parking along Broadway.
Tips for voting safely during COVID-19
Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, it is very important that voters adhere to health and safety recommendations provided by public health officials. To minimize transmission of the virus, keep these important tips in mind.
- · Drop ballots off at the ballot box: If you wish to avoid crowds on Election Day and requested an absentee ballot by mail, you may complete the ballot and drop it off at the ballot box through 3 p.m. on November 3 at 2122 Campus Drive SE.
- · Consider voting via an agent: If you would like someone (an “agent”) to pick up your ballot and turn it in for you (voting via agent delivery), please contact the Olmsted County Elections Office at 507-328-7650 for more information. You will have a form to fill out to send with your agent which gives them permission to pick up your ballot. The agent must deliver the ballot by 3 p.m. on November 3 for it to be counted.
- · Vote during off-peak times on Election Day: If you wish to avoid crowds but want to vote in person on Election Day on November 3, consider voting at off-peak times, typically the mid-morning or early afternoon. When voting in person, please wear a mask. Face coverings are required in all polling locations unless a voter is medically exempt. Please ensure you also adhere to hand hygiene and physical distancing guidelines (maintaining six feet of space between you and others).
If you wish to vote in-person on Election Day on November 3 but you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine, it’s recommended that you consider voting via agent delivery.
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