Get a free ride to polls, be ready to vote Nov. 2

Getting ready to vote Nov. 2 means getting organized. This fall Minnesotans will vote for members of Congress, a governor and state officers, state senators and representatives, and local office holders. The Access Press Web site, www.accesspress.org, has links to Minnesota political party Web sites. Also, watch your local papers for local candidate debates and interviews.

Learn more about voting in Minnesota at www.mnvotes. org To find your polling place and print off a sample ballot visit www.mnvotes.org  and click on ‘Where do I Vote.’ Then type in your home address. Or call the Secretary of State at 651-215-1440 (Twin Cities) or 1-877-600-0078.

People with disabilities living in the Minneapolis or St. Paul metropolitan area can get a free ride to a polling place, by calling 1-877-50-RIDES. Several disability community groups have set up the rides program in the Twin Cities. These groups need responsible, enthusiastic, nonpartisan volunteers willing to drive and operate accessible vans throughout the metro area on Election Day. Driving shifts will be 3.5 hours and will be based out of St. Paul and Golden Valley. Volunteers may sign up for more than one shift. There will be a training session to learn how to use the lifts and tie downs. Two options are available to choose from: the evening of October 28 or October 29. Sign up and help remove the barriers to voting for people with disabilities. A link for the training is on the Courage Center Web site, at http://www.couragecenter.org/ContentPages/getinvolved.aspx

As of Access Press deadline no information was available about rides in other parts of Minnesota. If you use a ride service provider, in any part of the state, make sure you schedule a ride to the polls well in advance.

Minnesota allows voters to register at the polls, provided voters bring proper proof of identification and residency. Voter registration remains current until you move, change your name, or do not vote for four consecutive years. Voters must be at least 18 years old on Election Day, are citizens of the United States and have resided in Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding Election Day.

To register at your polling place on Election Day, you must prove identity and residency. To provide identity, bring one of the following with your current name and address to verify your residence in the precinct: a valid Minnesota driver’s license, learner’s permit, Minnesota ID card, or receipt for any of these; a tribal ID card or a valid student ID card including your photo, if your college has provided a student housing list to election officials.

Or bring to the polling place a valid registration in the same precinct under a different name or address; or a notice of late registration sent to you by your county auditor or city clerk. A voter registered in the same precinct as you who can confirm your address with a signed oath can help you register, as can an employee of the residential facility where you live who can confirm your address with a signed oath.

Use a photo ID with a previous address and a second piece of information to provide identity and residency. The proper photo IDs are a Minnesota driver’s license, Minnesota ID card, United States passport, United States military ID card, Tribal ID card or a Minnesota University, College, or Technical College ID card.

Only certain types of bills can be used to prove residency. These include a utility bill due within 30 days of Election Day: such as telephone (landline, cell, VOIP, etc.), TV (cable, satellite, etc.), Internet services, electric, gas, solid waste, sewer services or water. A rent statement is valid only if it is dated within 30 days of Election Day and includes itemized utilities. A current student fee statement is also valid. Don’t bring mortgage papers, bank statements, public assistance forms, pension checks or other papers, even if your address is listed.

If you have questions about your right to vote or encounter any problems at your polling place call the Election Protection hotline starting Oct. 25: 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Otherwise call the Minnesota Disability Law Center Voter Hotline on Election Day: 1-800-292-4150 or TDD/TTY: 612-332-4668.

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