Minnesota presidential primary voting begins Friday, officials offer security updates

Minnesotans will soon be able to cast ballots in the initial race for the White House.

But before absentee voting begins on Jan. 19, the state’s top officials – including Secretary of State Steve Simon – held a press conference offering a look ahead to the 2024 presidential election, including updates on election security, election worker recruitment, and voter outreach initiatives.

Minnesota’s primary is happening on "Super Tuesday" – or March 5. Absentee voting can be done in person, or by the request of a mail-in ballot.

"This will be Minnesota’s second presidential primary of the modern era," Simon said on Thursday. "Voting from home is highly secure, in Minnesota we have three layers of security," Simon said on Thursday. "When you order a ballot, you will have to provide some sort of personal ID. Second, you have to sign one of the envelopes, and get a witness to sign as well … Unless all three things are there, it will not be counted."

A ballot can also be tracked electronically throughout the process, according to Simon.

Simon also warned about the concern of AI amplifying existing threats to election security, which Minnesota election officials will guard against.

"We are ahead of the curve," Simon said. "Last legislative session we passed a law making it illegal to create a deep fake to disseminate information within 90 days of an election," Simon said.

The presidential nominating primary of each state selects which candidate will be endorsed for the presidential election in November. There will be only one contest on the ballot, with the options being a Democratic, Republican or legal Marijuana party nominee.

Democratic leadership has said incumbent Joe Biden will be its preferred nomination. 

Meanwhile, the three top Republican presidential candidates are all trying to build support in New Hampshire this week ahead of the nation's first primary on Tuesday. Former president Donald Trump, along with former governors Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis have all held campaign events leading up to the event. Latest polls currently show Trump with a clear lead, with Haley in second and DeSantis a distant third.

In November 2023, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued its order to dismiss the case on the bipartisan constitutional challenge of former President Donald Trump’s status on the 2024 ballot.

Trump has faced similar challenges in several other states.

How to vote early in Minnesota

The City of Minneapolis’ Early Vote Center opens for the presidential primary at 8 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 19.

Voters who are 16 and 17 years old can now pre-register to vote as a part of the new voting laws.

New laws have changed parts of the voting process. Voters now have the right to paid time off to vote. This includes early voting. Another law gives voting rights to thousands of convicted felons, as long as they are not currently incarcerated.

You can head to the Minnesota Secretary of State website to see if your city is having elections and where your polling place is.