Minnesota voter FAQ: What happens if my ballot gets rejected?

Every week, FOX 9 is answering voters' questions about the Nov. 3 general election.

I sent in my absentee ballot. Now what?

As of Friday, election workers had accepted 911,385 absentee ballots. More than 1.6 million have been requested, meaning the number of accepted ballots is certain to top 1 million this week.

There are two ways to vote absentee: in person, or by mail. Regardless of how you do it, accepted ballots are stored in the same place.

Starting Tuesday, election workers can start processing ballots by removing them from the envelope you returned them in and feeding them into tabulator machines.

Ballots aren't actually counted for particular candidates until election night, but feeding them into the machines gets them ready to be tallied quickly.

How do I know if my ballot is rejected, and what happens next?

By law, if your ballot is rejected at least five days before the election, your county will send you a replacement ballot along with an explanation of why the first try was no good.

If it's rejected within five days of the election, it's too late to mail a replacement ballot. But your county must call or email you to explain the problem. You'll be allowed to vote in person on Election Day.

In the 2016 general election, 1.8 percent of total absentee ballots were rejected, according to data from the Secretary of State's office. In the 2018 general, 2.1 percent were rejected.

This year, a court has taken away two of the most common reasons why ballots get rejected. Registered voters do not need a witness signature. And the deadline is not as much of an issue this year, because voters simply need to postmark their ballot by Election Day and it'll count as long as it's received within seven days.

How many ballots have been rejected this year?

Secretary of State Steve Simon's office declined to provide that number, arguing that a 2020 Minnesota Supreme Court decision prevents the public from seeing much of the data on the state's voter systems.