Minnesota Secretary Of State - College/University Student Resources for Elections
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College/University Student Resources for Elections

College/University Student Resources
for Elections and Civic Engagement

Info You Can Use: FAQ style!



The high school graduation ceremony is often called commencement, a beginning.  One new beginning is often around that time, which is voting.  Voting is just one of many aspects to being civically aware and engaged.

There's a lot to learn about being a part of your community-from your neighborhood to being a global citizen-and it starts with answering two questions (that take time and work to answer):

1) What do I believe?

2) What do I want to do about it?

What you won't find here are the answer those questions.  Those are your answers to come to!  What you also won't find here is what side to take or what vote to cast.  Again- that's up to you.
What WILL you find here?  Help with the tools, resources, and skills that can help you answer those questions, and the specifics of how to register and vote if you are in a postsecondary program. 




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short answers

Helpful Links

Can I vote?

To vote in Minnesota you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 years old on Election Day (16 & 17 year-olds can pre-register)
  • A resident of Minnesota for 20 days
  • Not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction
  • Not under a court order that says you can't vote


If I preregister at 16 or 17,
THEN can I vote?


Nope.  When you preregister, you will automatically be registered to vote when you turn 18. Your county will send you a postcard to tell you that you have been registered, and to check that mail comes to your address.(The Secretary of State likes to say, "When you turn 18, you may get a present, maybe a slice of cake, but you also get formal political power.")  Hopefully it will get you thinking about elections as they happen, though, and that's a great thing!

RESIDENCY (Where you consider home): The Key to Registering and Voting

Okay, there are a number of scenarios for those attending school after high school.  You may not have moved out into a dorm or apartment and are commuting to campus (or taking classes online).  You may have moved to campus and are living in a dorm.  You may live in an apartment or house near campus.  You may be going to school in a state other than Minnesota.  You may even be from another state and going to school here.  This next section will address all of those cases.


What if I still live 'at home' (e.g. where you lived in high school) but am going to school?


No problem!  Because it is about where you consider home- and not if you are in school- that's where you register and where your polling place (to vote in person) will be.

What if I live at school? 

It all comes down to where you consider home. 
If you are in a dorm or off-campus housing at your college/university, you have a question to answer.  Is THAT where you consider your home, or is this just school and your home is (as an example) at your parent's place?  It isn't a matter of where things are stored, or what is on your driver's license; you register and vote where you consider home.  (Look below for HOW you can vote: in-person on Election Day, early in-person, or by mail.)


What if I am going to school out of state?


In this case, you have the same question to answer as those living at or near school in Minnesota: Where do you consider your home?  If you have a place to return to in Minnesota and that is what you consider home, that's where you register and vote (absentee by mail, or back in Minnesota if you are home in the 46 days before the election or on Election Day).  If, instead, you feel that your home is now in the state where your school is located, that's where you vote.  (See the links to the right.)


What if I'm still in High School but I'm in PSEO?


The qualifications to register (or preregister) stay the same, so it is all about where you consider home.  You can preregister starting at 16, and register to vote if you will be 18 by the next election.  The key is to do it!




How do I register or preregister to vote?


There are two ways to preregister or register to vote.

1) Fill out a paper application form and mail it in. You can download and print paper applications in 11 languages.

2) Fill out the registration application online. There is nothing to print, and nothing to mail. You can do it on your phone, tablet, or computer.


What will they ask me on the voter registration form?




Full Name


Date of Birth

Minnesota State I.D. Number
Last 4 Digits of Your Social Security Number

Sign an Oath That You are Telling the Truth


When can I register to vote.


You can preregister from your 16th birthday until you are 18.  It will automatically register you on your 18th birthday.

When you are 18 or older, register any time up to 21 days before an election, or when you vote.

You will get a postcard confirming that you are registered.

What if I'm from another state and going to school here in Minnesota?

The key question for you is, "Is Minnesota where I consider home?"  If so, you use your Minnesota address to register to vote and get your polling place.  If you-while loving Minnesota as a place to get a degree- see the state you came from as your home, that is where you register and vote.


Can I be an Election Judge?


Election Judges are the people (eligible to vote in Minnesota) hired (PAID!) to help run voting in local polling places on Election Day.  Trainees are 16 and 17-year-olds who do many of the same jobs (greeting, checking people in, handing out and explaining ballots, handing out stickers, and more).

Learn more about
being an Election Judge or Trainee


How do I vote absentee by mail?  What do I need?