Don Heinzman column: Plan ahead to register for summer, fall elections
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon wants Minnesota to be No. 1 in voter turnout.
For years Minnesota led the nation in voter turnout only to be beaten by Maine with 58.7 percent in the 2014 midterm election, compared to Minnesota’s 50.5 percent.
Observers say a voter turnout percentage in the mid-70s could put Minnesota on top this fall.
Simon is challenging us to be sure to register to vote as part of a special campaign he calls “Pledge to Vote.”
Naturally, he wants everyone to vote in this presidential election, which is a tall order. The upcoming election could bring out a national record-number of voters, and now, 800,000 eligible voters are not registered.
The campaign is aimed at those 800,000. Simon and his staff have developed a voter outreach kit for all those who want to get involved in registering voters.
You can register online to vote and join the over 100,000 Minnesotans who have done so since September 2013. Go to mnvotes.org and follow the directions.
To register to vote, you must be a U.S citizen, 18 years of age before the election, a resident of Minnesota for at least 20 days and, if you’ve been convicted, finished with all parts of any felony sentence. To register online, you will need your Minnesota driver’s license or Minnesota ID card number or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
You also can register by absentee ballot, available June 24 for the primary election, and you can register on Election Day.
The get-out-the-vote kit has voter registration applications, Pledge to Vote cards, envelopes to return the applications and cards, “I Will Vote” stickers, 2016 election overview cards, and a poster.
Naturally, you will want to vote to elect the most qualified people who will make decisions that could affect your lives. The goal to be No. 1 of all states in voter turnout will make this a more interesting election. Why not just ask one person you know if they are registered to vote?
Tell them about the close elections in Minnesota history – the most recent, the election of Al Franken over then Sen. Norm Coleman by 312 votes.
On your mark, get set – register and vote.
Don Heinzman is a columnist for ECM Publishers.