Forgetting to register to vote is neither an obstacle nor an excuse. There are few reasons not to vote. Probably the most common reason many do not vote is also is that some states require residents to register ahead of time. Fortunately, this is not a concern for Minnesotans, as our state has one of the most liberal election laws in the nation, allowing qualified voters to register at the polling places today, the day of the elections.
The documentation required is minimal. All that is necessary is proof that the voter resides in the precinct in which they wish to vote. This can be proven in a number of ways.
Voters can provide an approved form of identification containing their current address. The most common and most obvious of these forms is a Minnesota driver’s license. If a voter does not have a Minnesota driver’s license, a Minnesota state ID is also acceptable. Having a receipt for a new one of either of these also suffices if the voter has yet to receive it.
Even if the voter’s ID card does not contain their current address, this is not a problem. All that is required in this circumstance is proof of identification and a current utility bill. In addition to the two forms of identification already mentioned, U.S. passports and student IDs fill the proof of identification. The restrictions on the utility bill is that it must be in the voter’s name, must be for the address at which they live, and be due within 30 days of Election Day. Bills that qualify are: phone, gas, electric, water, sewer or cable.
Students have even more options. If a student cannot meet the other requirements, they can still register to vote. Their alternatives are presenting a student ID and a registration or fee statement with their current address or just a student ID if they are on a student housing list at the polling place.
If all else fails, a voter only needs someone who already has registered to vote in the same precinct. Under the voucher rule, a voter who is registered to vote in a precinct can orally swear that they know another voter lives in the precinct. This is enough to prove to the state that the voter does actually live there for election purposes.
Minnesota has cared enough to make it easy for its citizens to vote. All that is left is for its residents to care enough to exercise it. Make a difference. It is easy. It is important. It affects you.