Voter Registration Information

Did you know that Minnesota has stellar voter turnout rates? According to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, 78.42% of the eligible population cast their ballots in the 2008 elections — the highest of any state in the nation. In 2012, that number was 76.42%. Voting is an essential part of the democratic process.

It is a right, a privilege, and a civic duty to vote, and as such, the College encourages all eligible members of our community to vote. Whether student, faculty, or staff, every vote matters. Beyond selecting the next President of the United States, ballots cast also indicate preferences for senators and representatives at both the national and state level, constitutional amendments, local laws, and much more.

Our students are very politically active, and as such, they constitute a large part of this effort. Whether hosting debate viewing parties, printing flyers, "dorm storming" (going door-to-door to encourage registration), or involvement with a particular campaign, they create a vivacious, involved political atmosphere.

Each student 18 years old or older and who is a U.S. citizen has the right to vote in local, state, and national elections. Carleton students who are eligible voters may vote either in their home states or in Minnesota. Not both. You may wish to contact your home state/county election office for details about pre-registration and absentee voting.

In order to vote in Minnesota, you will need to be registered. This may seem like a daunting process, but it requires little time. In Minnesota, voters have the option of registering at the polls or registering online at least 21 days before the election. In order to be eligible to vote in the state of Minnesota, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old on Election Day
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Have resided in Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding Election Day
  • Have any felony conviction record discharged, expired or completed
  • Not be under court-ordered guardianship where a court has revoked your voting rights
  • Not have been ruled legally incompetent by a court of law

Out-of-state students may wish to check with their home state — if they may (in the future) consider applying to a home state professional or graduate school — to determine whether voting in Minnesota will have an affect on their residency status. States vary on their requirements. Also, insurance coverage provided by a homeowner's policy may be affected.

Going abroad? If you're in the 3/4 of Carleton students participating in an Off-Campus Studies program, please review the information about absentee voting while abroad.

Please contact the Dean of Students Office, x4248 for clarification as needed.

Registering to vote in Northfield establishes Northfield, MN as your residence and renders you subject to call for jury duty in Rice County; Faribault, MN is the county seat. The law provides no exception for full-time students or for persons lacking transportation. Excuse from jury duty is the prerogative of the judge.