Voting Information

****Today is National Voter Registration Day!

Culture and Tradition are an important part of life for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Make voting a tradition.

You can register ONLINE for FREE and it only takes a few minutes. Click the link:



Please visit Or email questions to: for more information


“When are persons convicted of a felony able to exercise their right to register and vote legally, without penalty?”


  • Subdivision 1. Restoration. When a person has been deprived of civil rights by reason of conviction of a crime and is thereafter discharged, such discharge shall restore the person to all civil rights and to full citizenship, with full right to vote and hold office, the same as if such conviction had not taken place, and the order of discharge shall so provide.

An individual convicted of treason or any felony whose civil rights have not been restored is not eligible to vote under section 201.014.

  • Discharge occurs under certain circumstances, in statute:

610.609.12, subdivision 1. Authority; conditions.

  • A person sentenced to the commissioner of corrections for imprisonment for a period less than life may be paroled or discharged at any time without regard to length of the term of imprisonment which the sentence imposes when in the judgment of the commissioner of corrections, and under the conditions the commissioner imposes, the granting of parole or discharge would be most conducive to rehabilitation and would be in the public interest. 609.12, Subdivision 2. Discharge.
    The discharge may be:
    1. by order of the court following stay of sentence or stay of execution of sentence; or
    2. upon expiration of sentence.
      Discharge also occurs by affirmative action of the court under 609.3751, which I am not copying here.

610.609.165, subd. 2, clause (2) is the sticking point. All the other discharge provisions require a positive, affirmative act of an official or a court. But the vast majority of felons wondering whether they can vote have had no such affirmative action – they receive their civil rights back by expiration of sentence.

What does “expiration of sentence” mean? There is no clear, statutory definition of that phrase, and it is only used four times in Minnesota Statutes and Rules: Minnesota Statutes, sections 241.69, 590.10, and 609.165; and part 2940.3800 of Minnesota Rules
Then there is the phrase itself – “expiration of sentence.” This generally has a time-oriented definition. Merriam- Webster online puts it as:

Definition of expiration 2: the fact of coming to an end or the point at which something ends: TERMINATION

Clearly a time-oriented usage.

There are seven cases that have touched in any way on the phrase, two of which are unpublished. The list of these cases is attached.

Of these cases, one, Sames v. State, only speaks in a footnote to an unrelated situation. Another, MVA v. Simon, recites the statute in the context of challenges in the polling place. A third, Morrissey v. State simply notes that a former felon whose sentence was discharged from expiration of his sentence is entitle to a hearing on expungement of a wrongful conviction. State v. Moon only discusses expiration in the context of the firearms post-expiration prohibition contained in 609.165, subdivision 1a. An unpublished case, State v. Niemi, also only references expiration in relation to the post-expiration prohibition. So did Kolk v. State.

However, State. V. Hannam , 792 N.W. 2d 862 at 864-5, provides more fertile ground. In an opinion of the Court of Appeals, Judge Randolph Peterson wrote:

In Minnesota, an “ ‘executed sentence’ means the total period of time for which an inmate is committed to the custody of the commissioner of corrections.” Minn.Stat. § 244.01, subd. 9 (2008). For inmates whose crimes were committed after 1993, the term of imprisonment generally equals two-thirds of the executed sentence, with the remaining one-third of the sentence to be served on supervised release. Minn.Stat. § 244.101, subd. 1 (2008).

Once an inmate completes the terms of imprisonment and supervised release, the inmate's sentence expires. See State ex rel. Peterson v. Fabian, 784 N.W.2d 843, 846 (Minn.App.2010) (noting that sentence expires after completion of term of imprisonment and supervised release); see also Larson v. United States, 995 F.Supp. 969, 972 (D.Minn.1997) (noting that Minnesota's civil-rights restoration statute, Minn.Stat. § 609.165, is “both plenary and automatic,” effective upon expiration of sentence). In this case, respondent served his terms of imprisonment and supervised release in prison, and his entire 27–month sentence expired on December 19, 2009.

This is as close as the courts in Minnesota have gotten, but this is actually fairly authoritative in defining expiration.
Other statutes.

There are also references to time-based measures of sentences, in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 244, a chapter that relates to criminal sentences and release therefrom.

For example 244.30, clause (a), speaks to expiration of the sentence, an almost identical phrase, as a lower limit (90 days being the upper limit) of a reimprisonment for first time revocation of supervised release. Obviously, this language could not possibly refer to fines or fees. Similarly, expiration is referenced in similar time-oriented usage in 244.0513; 244,15; 244.17; and 244.172.
The language of 201.071, subd. 1, clause (7) muddies the waters here:

(7) have the right to vote because, if I have been convicted of a felony, my felony sentence has expired (been completed) or I have been discharged from my sentence; and Emphasis added. This language has been in statute since 2005, see:

The use of the word “completed”, probably meant to explain “expired,” would imply (at least more strongly than expired) that any fines and fees included directly in the sentence would need to be paid before the sentence had been “completed.”

However, the preponderance of the uses of expiration of sentence, expiration, expire and similar words relate solely to time, as do the policies followed by important administrators of the phrase.

Conclusion: Once the time-connected phases of a sentence, whether incarceration or other supervision upon release from or alternative to incarceration, are over, civil rights are restored, including the right to register and vote. When asked, you can say with confidence, based on the foregoing, that financial aspects of a court-imposed sentence do not delay the restoration of voting rights.

Information Provided By:
Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
Secretary of State Steve Simon
For more information, you may contact the Office of General Counsel:
Bibi Black
General Counsel


The specifics, how does Voting from Home work in Minnesota

Many Minnesotans are voting from home for the first time and even those who have before may not be aware of the changes to the process. It is really important that we provide our base with clear, explicit, instructions on how to vote from home and the rights they have associated with doing so.

The Vote by Mail Process

Step 1: Request your mail-in ballot. You may do this by visiting (preferred) or by visiting the Secretary of State’s website You may also request your ballot by mailing an application to the Secretary of State.
Step 2: You can track the status of your ballot request using

Step 3: Ballots will be mailed 46 days before the general election, which is Sept 18. You can track when your ballot is mailed at

Step 4: Fill out and return your ballot following the simple instructions enclosed. Make sure to sign your ballot. You will NOT need to pay for postage to return your ballot. Note that a witness signature is not required, which is a change from past years. Ballots must be postmarked by election day but we recommend turning in your ballot as early as possible.

Step 5: You can check to see when your ballot has been received!

Voting Early In-Person
Voters can choose to vote absentee in person at their local elections office beginning 46 days before the election, which is September 18. Voters who choose to vote absentee in-person will have to fill out the same application as voters requesting an absentee ballot in the mail. Voters will need to fill out the same signature envelope for their absentee ballot, but will turn in their ballot directly to elections officials. Available locations and hours vary county by county throughout the state, however each county must have in person absentee voting at one location for the following times:

During all normal business hours beginning September 18.
Saturday, October 31 - 10am-3pm
Until at least 5:00pm on November 2

Counties have received millions of dollars to provide PPE, including masks, to every voter who needs one. They will also provide sanitized pens, hand sanitizer, and will be continuously cleaning polling locations throughout the day.


Q: Do I need to give a reason for voting from home?
A: No. Any eligible voter in Minnesota may request a mail-in ballot. No reason is needed.

Q: Do I need a stamp to return my mail-in ballot?
A: No. Postage is prepaid on the return envelope provided with your ballot.

Q: What do I need to vote from home?
A: You must be an eligible voter in the state of Minnesota. You will need the last 4 digits of your social security number or your MN driver’s license number to request your ballot be sent to your home.

Q: How can I be sure my ballot is counted?
A: You can track the status of your ballot at

Q: If I am not yet registered to vote can I still vote from home?
A: Yes. If you are an eligible voter but unregistered, you will receive a voter registration form to return along with your mail-in ballot. Note that this voter registration form will require the signature of a witness.

Q: If I voted by mail in the primary do I still need to request a ballot?
A: It depends. If you checked the box for the general election you are all set. You can check your status here:

Q: What if I change my mind and decide I want to vote on Election Day?
A: If you have received/requested a mail-in ballot and decide instead to vote on Election Day, as long as you have not submitted your mail-in ballot, you may show up at the polls and cast your vote as you normally would.

Q: When will ballots be sent out?
A: Ballots will be sent out 46 days prior to Election Day, September 18th. You can track when your ballot was mailed here

Q: Where can I go if I have more questions?
A: We’re here to help! Call any time at 833-DFL-VOTE