Student Voter Guide for Minnesota’s 2020 Presidential Primary Election

This guide will help you participate in Minnesota’s March 3 presidential primary, in which you can help choose America’s presidential nominees. In the Minnesota presidential primary, you must register without party affiliation and then choose one party’s ballot to vote. (If you don’t select a party, you will be unable to vote.) The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) and the Republican Party have filed to participate in the primary. 

Dates and Deadlines

  • Primary election date: March 3, 2020, 7 AM to 8 PM (Check your county election office for any time variations.)
  • First date absentee ballots are sent out: January 17. (You can apply for a ballot any time during the year, except Election Day.)
  • Deadline for receiving absentee ballots by mail: March 3 (and 3 PM on March 3 if delivered by hand)
  • Early voting in person at your county election office and other locations: January 17 to March 2
  • Registration deadline: Registration temporarily closes on February 11, and reopens March 3 at the polling place.

Why this primary matters

You have a chance to determine the presidential nominees for the two major political parties. As part of Super Tuesday, the Minnesota primary plays an important role. DFL Party delegates are allocated proportionately with a 15% minimum, while Republican Party delegates are allocated proportionately with a 10% minimum, and 85% for a Winner Take All threshold.

Candidate information

For Republican and Democratic presidential candidate websites, CNN has a complete list. Politico also has a quick guide to Democratic candidate positions.


You are eligible to vote if you are:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 years old on Election Day
  • A resident of Minnesota for at least 20 days
  • Finished with all parts of any felony sentence (including probation, parole, or supervised release)

How to register to vote

You can register online. Or you can use a paper application and mail or drop it off to either the Secretary of State or your county election office. You can also register, or update your registration, when you vote at your polling place or at early voting location. And you can register when you apply for a driver’s license or a state ID.

ID Requirements for registering

To register online, you will need:

  • A Minnesota driver’s license number, or
  • A Minnesota identification card number, or
  • The last four numbers of your Social Security number

You will need proof of residence if you register in person. If you use an ID that doesn’t include your address (such as a non-Minnesota driver’s license, a photo tribal ID that doesn’t show your address, a U.S. passport, or college or high school ID), you will also need a utility bill with a current address, a residential lease, or a current student fee statement. You can also use just a current student ID, if you’re on a college student housing list. See this voter registration page for a full list of IDs and proof of residence.

ID Requirements for voting

You can vote without showing ID if your registration is current and active. If you need to register or update your registration, or if you haven’t voted in four years or more, you will need to show proof of residence. 

Absentee voting

See this page for complete instructions of voting with an absentee ballot. Note that when you vote with an absentee ballot, you will need a witness – either a registered Minnesota voter or a notary. You can vote early/absentee without a specific reason.

Address to use for registering & voting

Per federal election law, college students can register and vote at either their campus address or their permanent home address, which may be out of state. However, voters can only be registered at one address. If you are not going to physically be in the state where you plan to vote, you will need to request an absentee ballot.

It’s your choice where to register. Registering at your campus address will not:

  • Affect your federal financial aid
  • Prevent your parents from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes
  • Cost you any scholarships, unless they’re tied to specific residency requirements
  • Affect your tuition status as an in-state or out-of-state student.

Key Resources