ROCHESTER, Minn.- Minnesota is just weeks away from it's first Presidential Primary in decades and voters in Olmsted County will be among the first in the country voting to nominate a Presidential candidate.
Starting Friday, January 17th, Olmsted County voters can go to the 4-H Building at Graham Park for early absentee voting. March 3rd is election day when voters will have to decide which candidate they want to see on the ballot in November. Rochester city clerk, Anissa Hollingshead said the parties asked the state to step in and have election administrators run the process, but everything will run as normal. "We're running this primary like a regular election so that our voters have the chance to take advantage of that early absentee voting period," explained Hollingshead. "All of our polling locations will be open on election day. It'll run just like a regular election from the voters perspective, but the results are being used by the parties to help them identify their candidates."
Hollingshead said this gives voters an opportunity to bypass the long lines on election day. She said voting is crucial in having your voice heard and it helps decide the future of our country. "It's an important way for folks to make sure they're being counted. "We're also right now in the midst of preparing for the census and our big message around the census is we count," Hollingshead explained. "Everyone counts in Minnesota, in Olmsted County, the city of Rochester. We want to make sure that all of our residents are being counted."
If you cant make it out to a polling place, Olmsted County voters can also mail in their ballots, but they have to be in before March 3rd. Olmsted County is in need of election judges, you can sign up here.