What to know before you voteAfter weeks of campaigning, electioneering, debating and soul-searching, the 2012 General Election is only days away. The only steps left untaken are to make those final decisions on which candidates will get your vote and then go out and vote next Tuesday, Nov. 6.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
After weeks of campaigning, electioneering, debating and soul-searching, the 2012 General Election is only days away.
The only steps left untaken are to make those final decisions on which candidates will get your vote and then go out and vote next Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Here are some things you need to know before you vote:
If you’re still undecided on the candidates and issues, you’ll find a comprehensive Voters’ Guide in this issue of the Pine Journal. In the interest of providing enough space for candidate responses, only the contested races for school board, city council, mayor, Carlton County Board of Commissioners and local legislators are featured, along with information on the county’s two Local Option Sales Tax referendums in Moose Lake and Cloquet as well as the excess levy school referendums in Barnum, Wrenshall and Esko (where they also have a facilities referendum).
If you’ve done all your homework on the candidates/ballot questions and are ready to vote, be sure you know when and where to go to the polls.
If you’re voting absentee – because you’ll be at the hunting shack or elsewhere – your ballot must be cast in person at the office of Carlton County Auditor/Treasurer Paul Gassert on the second floor of the courthouse in Carlton no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5. The County Auditor’s Office will be open for absentee voting from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3 and until 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5.
If you’re voting by mail, your ballot must be received at the courthouse before 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Most local polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Polling locations for cities are as follows:
Barnum – Barnum Community Center, 3753 Front St., Barnum; Carlton – Carlton Fire Hall, 100 Fourth St. N.; Moose Lake – Moose Lake Civic and Community Center, 313 Elm St.; and Scanlon – Scanlon Community Center, 2801 Dewey Ave.
Cromwell, Kettle River, Thomson, Wrenshall and Wright vote by mail ballot only.
The city of Cloquet’s polling places include: Ward 1, Precinct 3 – Gospel Tabernacle Church, 1400 Washington Ave.; Ward 2, Precinct 4 – Garfield Community Center, 302 14th St.; Ward 3, Precinct 5 – Cloquet City Hall, 1307 Cloquet Ave.; Ward 4, Precinct 6 – Cloquet Armory, 801 Highway 33 S.; Ward 5, Precinct 1 – Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 515 Skyline Blvd.; and Ward 5, Precinct 2 – Fond du Lac Head Start, 105 University Road.
Polling locations for townships are as follows:
Atkinson – Carlton County Transportation Department, 1630 County Road 61, Carlton; Automba – Automba Town Hall, 6956 County Road 6, Kettle River; Barnum – Barnum Fire Hall, 3842 Church St., Barnum; Blackhoof – Blackhoof Town Hall, 3148 County Road 5, Barnum; Lakeview – Wright Fire Hall, 1426 Third St., Wright; Mahtowa – Mahtowa Fire/Town Hall, 2790 County Road 141, Mahtowa; Moose Lake – Moose Lake Civic and Community Center, 313 Elm St., Moose Lake; Silver – Kettle River Snowmobile Club, 5585 County Road 12, Kettle River; Silver Brook – Silver Brook Town Hall, 401 Alcohol Road, Wrenshall; Skelton – Skelton Town Hall, 3502 County Road 157, Barnum; Thomson – Thomson Town Hall, 25 E. Harney Road, Esko; Twin Lakes – Carlton County Transportation Building, 1630 County Road 61, Carlton; Eagle – Cromwell Sno Gophers building, 1247 Highway 73, Cromwell; and Perch Lake – Perch Lake Town Hall, 2779 Big Lake Road, Cloquet.
Beseman, Clear Creek, Holyoke, Kalevala, Split Rock, Wrenshall, Corona, Progress, Red Clover and Sawyer townships vote by mail ballot only.
Not certain if you’ve registered to vote?
“Minnesotans should use the online Voter Registration Lookup at www.mnvotes.org to see if their registration is current,” said Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. “Voters who are already registered to vote at their address do not need to bring additional documentation with them to their polling place. However, eligible voters who plan to register on Election Day must provide proof of residence. Voters should decide now which documents they will need on Election Day to register at the polls.”
If you haven’t already registered, you can do so on Election Day by showing a Minnesota driver’s license, learner’s permit, identification card (or a receipt for one). If your driver’s license still bears a former address, you will be asked to present a recent utility bill that displays your name and current address.
Other voter registration options include presenting a U.S. passport along with a recent utility bill; a U.S. military photo ID card with a recent utility bill; a tribal photo ID; a prior voting registration from the same precinct; or – if none of this documentation is available – bring along a registered voter also living in your current precinct who can confirm your address in a signed oath.
Students are allowed to use a student photo ID with a valid address in the precinct or a current student fee statement.
If you’re still uncertain about the registration procedure, or you have concerns over whether you’ll be allowed to register, go to mnvotes.org; call Gassert in the Carlton County Auditor’s Office at 218-384-9127; or contact the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office at 877-551-6767 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.