Absentee Voting

You can vote early by using an absentee ballot, instead of voting in person at the polling place on Election Day. You can vote absentee by mail or in person.

2020 election dates

  • November 3, 2020 - General Election Day

Absentee balloting

  • September 18 to November 2 (General Election)

Where to vote for in person absentee voting

Northfield City Hall - 2nd Floor Training Room
801 Washington St.
Northfield, MN 55057

Friday, October 30, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. 

Saturday, October 31, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (must arrive by 2:45 p.m.)

Monday, November 2, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (must arrive by 4:45 p.m.)

Voting absentee by mail (Updated: it is no longer recommended that you vote by mail for the 11/3/2020 election).

Voters may have an absentee ballot mailed to them by requesting an absentee ballot online or by completing the paper application and returning it to your respective County:

Rice County Government Services Center
Attn: Elections
320 NW Third Street
Faribault, MN 55021
507-332-6104 or 507-645-9576
Additional Information can be obtained from Rice County Elections.

Dakota County Administration Center
Attn: Elections
1590 Highway 55
Hastings, MN 55033-2343
651-438-4305
Additional Information can be obtained from Dakota County Elections.

Returning your absentee ballot

If you have received an absentee ballot, return it as soon as possible. DO NOT return by mail. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Minnesota absentee ballots need to be returned on Election Day in order to be counted.

Options for returning your ballot

  1. All mailed absentee ballots are sent from and processed by the county you live in (Rice or Dakota). The ballots come with a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope and instructions for completing and returning ballots. Voters can choose to return ballots via package delivery service (such as FedEx or UPS) to the County that sent the ballot, at the voter’s expense so that the ballot would arrive by Election Day.
  2. Ballots may be dropped off at the Absentee Voting Office at Northfield City Hall (2nd floor training room) through Monday, November 2 no later than 4:45 p.m. Ballots cannot be dropped off in any other office at City Hall. Please note that there is not a drop box for ballots at Northfield City Hall. Ballots need to be returned to the county (Rice or Dakota) from which they were sent. Staff will deliver to the appropriate county if dropped off in the Absentee Voting Office no later than 4:45 p.m. on Monday, November 2. Staff recommends returning as soon as possible. There will be long lines, please plan accordingly. You must wear a mask.
  3. If you are returning ballots other than your own, you will be required to complete a delivery log, which includes showing your ID, providing your name, address and signature and the name and address of the voter(s) you are returning ballots for. An individual cannot be an agent of more than three voters in an election.
  4. Ballots may be dropped off at the County Elections Office that sent them to you, Rice County Government Services Building in Faribault or Dakota County Administration Center in Hastings until 3 p.m. on Election Day. Both have drop boxes:
    • Rice County Government Services Building, 320 Third Street NW, Faribault.  
    • Dakota County Administration Center, 1590 Highway 55, Hastings
  5. Absentee ballots cannot be dropped off at Northfield City Hall or at any polling location on Election Day.

Agent delivery - returning ballots for others

Agent delivery is available through 2 p.m. on Election Day for Northfield City residents.

  • In special situations, voters may ask an agent to pick up and return an absentee ballot for them. There are a list of reasons that would qualify a voter for use of agent delivery.  These include being sick, having recent close contact with a person with COVID-19, having tested positive for COVID-19, and/or are within a quarantine period. All of these reasons would qualify under the “unable to go to the polling place due to incapacitating health reasons or disability”.
  • An individual cannot be an agent of more than three voters in an election.
  • Your agent must be at least 18 years old, have a pre-existing relationship with you and cannot be a candidate.
  • The agent must show identification with their name, address and signature when returning a ballot.
  • Give your agent a completed absentee ballot application and a request for agent delivery of absentee ballot form. Have your agent take both forms to the local election office (Northfield City Hall Absentee Voting Office for City residents) to receive your ballot.
  • Please note that your agent can pick up your ballot starting seven days before the election until 2 p.m. on Election Day (November 3) at Northfield City Hall in the Absentee Voting Room. The agent must bring the completed absentee ballot application and a request for agent delivery form noted above.
  • Your agent must return your ballot no later than 3 p.m. on Election Day. If returning a ballot on Election Day (November 3), it must be returned to Rice County Elections, 320 Third Street NW in Faribault or Dakota County Administration Center in Hastings no later than 3 p.m.
  • You cannot return a ballot to the polls or to Northfield City Hall on Election Day.

See more information on agent delivery

Tracking the status of your absentee ballot

You can track the status of your absentee ballot throughout the process on the Secretary of State’s website: https://mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/AbsenteeBallotStatus.aspx.

Important COVID-19 safety information

Please review the following information related to in person absentee voting:

  • Voters are required to wear a mask in the City Hall building and while voting.
  • Physical distancing restrictions will be in place.
  • The voting room will be restricted to voters only due to limited number of people that can be in the room at one time. Please do not bring children or family members.
  • Be prepared for lines due to distancing and other protective measures that will be place.
  • Please note the absentee/early voting location is not equivalent to a regular polling location. There is limited space and limited staff available at the location during the 6-week absentee/early voting period.

What to expect

Arrive at the city offices during one of the above-designated times. Please be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before the closing time so that you have time to complete the required paperwork and cast your vote.

The election official will provide you with absentee ballot application to complete. You will need your MN ID or drivers license number if you have one and the last four digits of your social security number.  If you are not already registered to vote under your current name and at your current address, you will need to fill out a voter registration application and show proof of residence. See the Registering to Vote page for information about proof of residence.

Additional locations

Additional absentee voting locations are available in both Rice County and Dakota County. The City of Northfield absentee location serves as the Northern Service Center for Rice County. In addition to ballots for all City of Northfield residents, ballots are available for all Rice County precincts.

Military / overseas absentee voting

Voters in the military and citizens living outside the United States use a different process to vote absentee. Voters serving in the military or those outside of the U.S. should visit the state’s Military and Overseas Voter Service to complete your absentee ballot request.

Return to the Elections & Voter Information home page for additional election information.