Presidential primary election and new polling locations
When it comes to voting in 2020, Richfield residents may need to check their calendars, and maybe even take a new route when they go to the polls this year.
Three elections will be held during 2020, with the first-ever Minnesota presidential nomination primary just weeks away on March 3. And with construction ongoing at four Richfield Public Schools, the voting locations for those surrounding precincts will also see changes.
“When it comes to voting, the location of polling places is required to remain the same for a full election cycle,” stated Elizabeth VanHoose, city elections administrator. “With some of the schools being under construction in 2020, it became clear early on that we would need to relocate some of our precincts to new locations.”
New locations for voting were secured for the four impacted precincts, and the effort was approved by the Richfield City Council on October 22, 2019.
The following precincts have been relocated for 2020:
- Precinct 3: relocated to Church of Peace, 6345 Xerxes Avenue (formerly located at Sheridan Hills Elementary)
- Precinct 5: relocated to Woodlake Lutheran Church, 2120 West 76th Street (formerly located at Richfield Middle School)
- Precinct 8: relocated to Richfield Dual-Language School, 7001 Elliot Avenue (formerly located at Richfield S.T.E.M. School)
- Precinct 9: relocated to House of Prayer Church, 7625 Chicago Avenue (formerly located at Centennial Elementary School)
Postcards were mailed to affected residents by Hennepin County on Jan. 21. Additional mailings will be sent out before the state and local primary election in August, and the presidential election in November. The city website and Minnesota Secretary of State website also have updated information available.
For residents that would rather not physically visit a polling place to cast their vote, a convenient option exists to vote via mailed absentee ballot.
“We have a lot of senior citizens and snowbirds in our community who vote through a mailed ballot,” explained Yvonne Atkins, Richfield elections official. “This is a very convenient option for residents that may have difficulty getting to the polling location on election day.”
To vote by mail, voters must apply to have an absentee ballot mailed to their home. Applications can be submitted at the Richfield Municipal Center or online via www.MnVotes.org. Once an application is received and approved, the voter will receive a ballot in the mail.
Once completed, the ballot must be signed by a witnessed. The ballot can then be returned through the mail, or for certain populations, the ballot may be returned on their behalf by a designated agent. This option is available to persons living in a nursing home, assisted living residential treatment facility, group home or battered women’s shelter. In addition, voters in a hospital or incapacitated due to illness or disability may also request for this service.
More information on absentee voting and agent delivery can be found online at www.richfieldmn.gov/absentee.
Presidential nomination primary election March 3
More change is in store for voters this year, as Minnesota holds its first presidential nomination primary election. This primary election was established by the State Legislature in 2016.
On March 3, residents may select one party, and vote for their chosen nominee for president.
When voting in the presidential nomination primary, voters will be asked to select either the Republican Party or the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. They will then receive a ballot and be asked to vote for one of the party’s presidential nominees. Voters’ participation in the presidential nomination primary does not require them to vote for the same party in the November election.
Voters may also vote for the presidential nomination primary by absentee ballot at Richfield Municipal Center until March 2.
“Because we have never conducted a presidential nomination primary, we really do not know what to expect leading up to March 3,” remarked Atkins. “So far, things have been changing from week to week with absentee voting.”
Election judges still needed
In the weeks ahead, Richfield is still in the process of securing election judges for the three elections in 2020, especially representatives from the Republican Party.
“In order to maintain party balance, we are in major need of Republicans willing to work as election judges,” explained VanHoose. “On election day, whenever someone is in need of help, wants to register to vote, or requires curbside assistance, we must have both a Republican and DFL party member present.”
Election judges are paid $10 per hour, and are scheduled to work on election days: March 3, August 11 and November 3. One hour of additional training is required which is compensated with $25. Election judges must be 18 years old.
For more information about voting locations, rules or schedules, visit the city webpage at www.richfieldmn.gov/vote.