Secretary of State explains plans for segregated absentee ballots

Election officials are reminding voters that it's too late to mail in your absentee ballots.
Publish date:
steve simon zoom call

A court ruling on Thursday requires any absentee ballots received by mail after 8 p.m. on Election Day to be separated from the ballots received on time.

So what happens to the absentee ballots that arrive too late and have to be segregated? Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon explained in a Zoom call with reporters on Friday what will likely happen.

Related: It's too late to mail your ballot, but you can still vote. Here's how.

Basically, from what Simon and the state's attorneys gleaned from the U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling on Thursday, is that ballots that arrive after 8 p.m. on Election Day are not automatically invalidated – the state's plan is to segregate them from the other ballots and still count them. 

Vote totals, including from the segregated ballots, will be included in the election results data that's available on the Secretary of State's website. (Simon noted that the office won't be releasing separate information on segregated ballot totals but will be updating the vote tallies in the seven days following the election so people could do the math themselves.)

From his understanding, Simon says the late ballots will still be counted unless a candidate's campaign seeks to invalidate the segregated votes. 

And, the court signaled in its ruling that if a campaign does seek to invalidate the votes, they'll likely be successful. 

Simon also said that the ruling only appears to impact votes for the presidential race. That being said, down-ballot races may also have the legal standing to challenge the segregated votes based on the court's decision. 

Meanwhile, Simon could appeal the 8th Circuit Court's ruling to the Supreme Court. However, Simon said they hadn't decided if they would do this or not, but a decision is expected some time on Friday. 

Simon said on Friday that there are more than 300,000 absentee ballots that have not yet been returned, noting this could include people who decided to vote early in-person, they could be in the mail or they could still be at people's homes. 

If you still have an absentee ballot, Simon says it's "too risky" to drop it in the mail. Instead, you should drop it off at your local election office by 3 p.m. on Election Day or vote early in person or in person on Tuesday. More information on what to do if you're worried your ballot won't get there in time is available here

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Teen arrested in connection to recent St. Cloud shootings

The shootings, which occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday, did not result in injury or property damage.

GoFundMe - Ryan Bialke

Red Lake Band raising money for children of slain officer Ryan Bialke

They're hoping to create a memorial and scholarship fund.

Andrew Thomas booking photo

8 years in prison for man charged with shooting at National Guard

He was accused of firing multiple shots at soldiers patrolling Minneapolis.

Facebook - semi crash july 30 2021 Hwy 212 - Chaska Police Department

'Large crash' involving semi-truck on Highway 212 in Chaska

Police are warning motorists about long delays.

Fairmont Raceway

Fairmont Raceway admits 'bad mistake,' announcer on leave after racist comments

The raceway promoter initially backed Len Oelke, but has now apologized.

Smoke and haze Minneapolis

Air quality still bad on Friday as wildfire smoke continues to blanket MN

The smoky haze will continue till at least Friday afternoon.


Maple Grove man defrauded PPP of $1.7M, used some to install pool

The 47-year-old pleaded guilty in federal court.

Ricky Rubio

Report: Timberwolves trade Ricky Rubio to Cleveland

Rubio's homecoming in Minnesota lasted just one season.

Tim Walz - YouTube - Screengrab

Gov. Walz: Newly-vaccinated Minnesotans will get $100

The incentive was announced shortly after President Biden announced the initiative.

Flickr - USPS post office mail truck - Paul Sableman

Man who attacked Oakdale postal worker gets 18 months in prison

He was accused of hopping over the counter and repeatedly punching the employee.

Wikimedia COmmons - Sierra store - Steve Morgan

Off-price retail store Sierra will open a St. Cloud location

It is the brand's first Minnesota store outside the Twin Cities.


drop and go ballot plymouth

It's too late to mail your ballot, but you can still vote. Here's how.

Voters can drop off their absentee ballot, vote early in-person or head to the polls on Election Day.

voting plymouth -- A line to vote early in Plymouth on Oct. 28.

More than 1.7M Minnesotans have already voted

Election officials are reminding people with absentee ballots to not mail them.

ballot voting vote

Republicans unsuccessful in attempt to suspend Wisconsin absentee voting rule

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals declined Republicans' request on Wednesday, a day after the federal court granted an extension to count absentee ballots.


The absentee ballot request forms you got in the mail? Here's what to know

Every election year, the Center for Voter Information mails applications to vote absentee.

ballot voting vote

Minneapolis opens 10 new ballot drop-off sites

There are now 13 places for people to bring their mail-in ballot.


Minnesota waives requirement for absentee ballot witnesses in primary

The Minnesota SOS has waived the witness requirement and will count ballots postmarked received 2 days after the primary.

Screen Shot 2020-10-15 at 1.14.36 PM

Ramsey County voters can drop their ballots off at Allianz Field

The Minnesota United is opening up Allianz Field next week for voters to return their absentee ballots.

ballot voting vote

Judge upholds Minnesota's 7-day extension for mail-in ballots

Mail-in ballots received within seven days of the election will be counted so long as they're postmarked by Election Day (Nov. 3).