Election Day might not be for another few weeks, but more than 40 percent of registered voters in Meeker County have already received a ballot.

Meeker County Auditor Barb Loch said Friday that her office has mailed nearly 5,000 ballots so far, and more requests for absentee ballots are likely in the coming days. The 2016 General Election saw 12,388 Meeker County residents vote, while the county had 13,727 registered voters as of Friday.

Through Friday morning, the nearly 800 completed ballots had been returned to the Auditor’s Office. Those ballots are stored in a secure location until after the polls close on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Some of the high percentage of mailed ballots is due to an increase in the number of precincts that have moved to vote-by-mail. Darwin and Ellsworth townships joined eight other municipalities and townships who were voting by mail in 2016. Minnesota law allows cities and townships with fewer than 400 registered voters, located outside the seven-county metro area, to conduct vote-by-mail.

The 10 Meeker County precincts with vote-by-mail account for more than 2,700 registered voters, whose ballots were mailed to them by the Auditor’s Office the last week of September.

Loch said there might be – in fact, likely are – more potential voters in those vote-by-mail precincts, who were not registered to vote in the past election. Those residents can still vote by mail, but must request a ballot by contacting the Auditor’s Office.

Joining those 2,700-plus vote-by-mail voters are nearly 2,100 absentee voters. That number also is likely to increase, Loch said, as voters can request absentee ballots up to the day before Election Day – although a request that late would best be made in person at the courthouse, Loch said.

Voters can also visit the main floor of the courthouse to vote early in person. A polling station has been set up just outside the Auditor’s Office where voter’s can register and request their ballot, just as they can on Election Day.

Following is additional information regarding voting and poll locations.

VOTING BY MAIL

Ten Meeker County entities vote entirely by mail for both the primary and General Election, including Cedar Mills City, Cedar Mills Township, Cosmos City, Cosmos Township, Danielson Township, Darwin Township, Ellsworth Township, Forest City Township, Harvey Township and Kingston City.

All registered voters in these precincts received ballots automatically mailed to their registered address. Voters can verify their registration status, and follow the progress of their ballot, at www.mnvotes.org.

Voters in these vote-by-mail precincts who need to receive their ballot at a temporary address must request an absentee ballot application through one of the following methods: online at www.mnvotes.org, by calling the Meeker County Auditor’s Office at 320-693-5212, or by mail or in-person at the Meeker County Auditor’s Office, 325 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield.

DROPPING OFF A BALLOT?

Vote-by-mail and absentee voters can return their ballot by mailing it, but they also can deliver the ballot in person to the Auditor’s Office at the Meeker County Courthouse.

The voter can deliver the ballot themselves, or have it delivered by a “designated agent,” who is limited to delivering three ballots and must present identification at the time of ballot delivery.

Ballots must be delivered to the Auditor’s Office, where a secure ballot box is available. Regular business hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Special extended hours for mail ballot voting, in-person drop off, voter assist terminal, or absentee voting for non-registered voters will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2.

POLLING PLACES

Acton Township – Grove City Community Center, 210 Atlantic Ave. W, Grove City

Cedar Mills City – Mail Ballot

Cedar Mills Township – Mail Ballot

Collinwood Township – Collinwood Town Hall, 21904 746th Ave., Dassel

Cosmos City – Mail Ballot

Cosmos Township – Mail Ballot

Danielson Township – Mail Ballot

Darwin Township – Mail Ballot

Dassel Township – Dassel Hisotrical Building, 901 First St. N., Dassel

Ellsworth Township – Mail Ballot

Forest City Township – Mail Ballot

Forest Prairie Township – Watkins City Hall, 110 Central Ave. S., Watkins

Greenleaf Township – Beckville Church/Greenleaf Town Hall, 20521 600th Ave, Litchfield

Harvey Township – Mail Ballot

Kingston City – Mail Ballot

Kingston Township – Kingston Community Center, 30840 722nd Ave., Dassel

Litchfield Township – Litchfield Fire Hall, 227 N. Ramsey Ave., Litchfield

Manannah Township – Manannah Town Hall social hall, 57211 351st St., Grove City

Swede Grove Township – Grove City Community Center, 210 Atlantic Ave. W., Grove City

Union Grove Township – Union Grove Town Hall, 35975 515 Ave., Paynesville

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