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I’m BreAnna, the Field Organizer at Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund. I’m here to talk about one of my favorite topics: voting! As an organizer, I have seen firsthand how young people are organizing, mobilizing, and stepping up in record numbers to take their power back. Here in Minnesota, we some of the most competitive races in the entire country— and many of them, up and down the ballot, will be decided by young voters. If you’ve never voted before, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a step by step guide for how to get registered and get your vote on in Minnesota.

Step 1: Register to Vote

First up, you’ll need to register to vote. Your elected officials are specific to where you live, and you’ll have candidates on your ballot down to local races—which means you also need to re-register every time you move or change addresses, so that your ballot accurately reflects who represents you. If you aren’t sure, you can easily check your registration status online.

To register, you must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old on Election Day, a resident of Minnesota for at least 20 days, and finished with all parts of any felony sentence.

Thankfully, registering or re-registering only takes a few minutes and can be done online or by mail. The deadline to register to vote online or by mail in Minnesota for the November election is Tuesday, October 16, 2018.

To register online, you’ll need an email address, and either your Minnesota driver’s license/Minnesota identification card number OR the last four digits of your social security number. If you don’t have these identifying factors, no sweat. You can print out the voter registration application and register by mail.

Once you register, you’ll receive a post card in the mail confirming your registration and informing you where to vote on Election Day. And that’s it—you’re ready to vote!

If you register in person on election day, you’ll need to determine your polling location, arrive at the correct polling place, and bring proof of your address. Registering in person on Election Day is still very easy and very common, but you may want to budget some more time to vote because election staff will need to walk you through the registration process.

Step 2: Head to Your Polling Place

In Minnesota, you don’t have to wait to vote—you can vote early in person RIGHT NOW! Early voting in Minnesota began on Friday, September 21 and runs through November 5. Early voting allows you to plan a time to vote in advance of Election Day that fits with your schedule. Many municipalities offer early voting on the weekends or into evening hours. If you want to vote early, find a location that works for you. (HINT: If you prefer to register to vote in person, you can do that at an early voting center, too!)

You can also request to vote early by mail with an absentee ballot. You can make the request online and track your ballot’s status using a web tracker once you mail it in to make sure it is received and counted. Your ballot won’t count if it is received after Election Day, so make sure you mail it back with time to spare if you go this route.

If you plan to vote on Election Day, start by making a plan to vote. Think about what time you want to vote, how you’ll get to your polling place, and consider inviting a friend or family member to go with you. Before Election Day, you can confirm that you’re registered to vote and double check the location of your polling place online.

If you’ve registered in advance, you won’t need to bring your photo ID. If you are registering on Election Day, you’ll need to bring a proof of residence. You can review the approved proof of residence document list and find out more information about registering on election day by visiting the state of Minnesota elections and voting website.

Step 3: Fill Out Your Ballot

Remember, the options on your ballot will vary depending on your address. Thankfully, you can view a sample ballot online in advance of election day. A sample ballot is just a preview of how your ballot will look when you get to the voting booth. This can help you research candidates and be familiar with how your ballot looks when you enter the voting booth.

There are critical races up and down the ballot, in which voters have a choice between candidates who stand with Planned Parenthood or candidates who will continue the attacks on our bodies and rights. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you’re voting for pro-Planned Parenthood candidates. We want you to be feel prepared and confident about your choices!

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund has endorsed Tim Walz for Governor, Peggy Flanagan for Lieutenant Governor, Tina Smith for U.S. Senate, Amy Klobuchar for U.S. Senate. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund has also endorsed in many races for the U.S. House of Representatives, including Dan Feehan (MN-01). Angie Craig (MN-02), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), and Joe Radinovich (MN-08).

And that’s it! Voting is one of the best ways to make your voice heard and support lawmakers who dictate policy that affects our day to day lives.

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