Be prepared to vote

Deb Moldaschel
(Left) Jean Prochniak, Brown County Auditor-Treasurer shows the secure ballot drop box, located in the Brown County Law Enforcement Center, and the sign that stands on the sidewalk outside the doors to direct voters where to drop off completed ballots for the Nov. 3 election. (Right) Watch for candidate profiles on Oct. 1.

With a national election coming up in the midst of a pandemic, voters are being encouraged to learn about their options for voting safely. While all efforts have been made to keep those who vote in person safe, along with keeping the Election Judges safe, voting by Absentee Ballot, from the safety of home, is also an option.

Brown County Auditor-Treasurer, Jean Prochniak, has been informing Brown County voters on how to vote by Absentee Ballot for the last several months.

Prior to the Primary Election in August, Brown County’s registered voters were sent an application for Absentee Ballots. Those requesting the ballots could choose both the Primary and General Election ballot at that time.

Prochniak said people continue to receive applications for Absentee Ballots from a variety of sources — such as the political parties, but if they requested a ballot previously, they don’t need to request one again.

For those who don’t remember if they requested a General Election ballot, they can find out on the Minnesota Secretary of State website. Absentee Ballots can also be requested at that site.

Prochniak said ballots for the General Election will be sent to absentee voters the week of Oct. 5. Voters who reside in mail ballot precincts (all townships and the cities of Cobden, Evan and Hanska) are scheduled to receive their ballots around Oct. 7.

Prochiniak stressed that ballots are not forwardable, so if a voter in a mail precinct plans to be away from their residence during the election period, an absentee ballot may be requested to be sent to a winter address.

Voter registration for the General Election is open through Oct. 13.

“Now is a good time to go to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website and register to vote,” said Prochniak. “Or, contact our local election office at 507-233-6614 to request the registration form or ask questions about absentee voting. Minnesota does allow same day registration, but having this taken care of prior to going to the polls will expedite the process.”

Anyone who will be 18 years of age prior to the election is eligible to register and vote.

Absentee ballots must be postmarked not later than Nov. 3. Prochniak said her office has seven days after Election Day to accept ballots that were mailed on Nov. 3.

There is also a secure ballot drop box in the lobby of the Brown County Law Enforcement Center in New Ulm. The address is 15 S Washington Street — the building is attached to the south side of Brown County Courthouse.