VOTE! Polls open at 7 am Tues. Nov. 4 - Elections Resources Guide

November 2, 2008
By Ann Zawistoski

Vote on Tuesday, November 4! 
Polls are open 7 am - 8 pm 

Want to keep up with the election? Looking for good information on candidates? Browse the links on this page and watch for updates. We'll add more resources as we come across them.

Frequently asked questions about registering to vote and voting

What are the requirements to vote in Minnesota?

The deadline to pre-register in Minnesota has passed

Even if you missed pre-registration, you can still register at the polls (see below).

You can register and vote in Minnesota if you meet all of the following:

  • will be at least 18 years old on election day (Nov. 4, 2008);
  • are a citizen of the United States;
  • will have resided in Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding election day (yes, going to college in Minnesota counts);
  • are not under court-ordered guardianship in which the cour order revokes your right to vote;
  • have completed the sentence for any felony conviction or had it discharged; and
  • have not  been found by a court to be legally incompetent to vote.


How do I pre-register to vote in Minnesota?
Note: the deadline for pre-registering to vote has passed.  If you are not registered, please see below for information on same day registration.

The library has voter registration materials just outside the reference room on the 4th floor.  We will get the registration cards to the county office for you.

You can also download the registration application from the Secretary of State's website.

The applications to pre-register to vote are due October 14, 2008.  But do not despair, if you miss the deadline, you can register at the polls on election day. (see below)


How does same day voter registration in Minnesota work?

In Minnesota, you can register to vote at your polling location on election day if you are not registered, or if you need to update your registration.  You will need one of the following:

  • a valid Minnesota Driver's licence, a learner's permit, a Minnesota ID card, or a receipt fr any of these containing a valid address in the precinct where reside (and where you are voting)
  • a student ID card including your photo, if you college has provided a housing list to election officials.  Carleton College has provided the housing list, so your Carleton ID card will work.
  • a voter registered in the same precinct who can confirm your address with a signed oath (they will need to go with you to the polls).
  • other ways to prove residency are listed on the Secretary of State website.


If I'm registered to vote in another state, can I still register to vote in Minnesota?

Yes.  As long as you have not voted absentee elsewhere, you may register to vote in Minnesota, either before the election, or on election day.  You do not need to notify any  other state where you were previously registered.


Should I vote here or vote absentee in my home state?

You will need to decide that on your own.  There are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Local races - think about the local races here in Northfield and in your home town.  Voting in Northfield is a way to become involved in the community here.  Voting in your home town can be a good way to remain involved in that community.
  • The electoral college - because of the way the electoral college works, you may want to vote based on which state you think your vote will have the greatest impact.  You can check for recent polls by state that may help you decide. 

If you decide to vote absentee, you will need to check your state's voting regulations to find out deadlines and procedures for voting absentee.  Check out the Go Vote Absentee page for information about voting absentee, or take a look at your state's Secretary of State website.


Will voting in Minnesota affect my parents' ability to claim me as a dependent on their taxes?



General information about registering to vote and voting as a student:

  • Student Voting Rights - Great information from the Brennan Center for Justice from the New York School of Law.  This guide includes information by state (both your home state and state of your school) and answers to frequently asked questions about voting.
  • Voting and Elections - Links to official information and services from the U.S. government.
  • Declare Yourself - Information on registering and voting - targeted specifically at people aged 18-22. You can find out deadlines for registering, and information on local candidates as well.
  • Election Protection - A site dedicated to ensuring that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process.  Has information on voting by state, as well as more general voting information.
  • Go Vote Absentee! - A site dedicated to making easier the process of registering and voting absentee.


National Candidates and Issues

  • Washington Post's 2008 Presidential Candidates - in-depth profiles, news and other information about the front-runners in the presidential race.
  • Project Vote Smart - A whole wealth of information, about the candidates (bios, voting records, interest group ratings and more), about voter registration, and links to other political resources.
  • Campaign 2008 from the Council on Foreign Relations - This site provides candidate's positions on foreign policy, and background reading on matters of foreign relations.
  • USA Votes - an interactive website of the Voice of America (VOA) that includes text, video, and audio content on the candidates and issues.


News and Fact Checks

  • - The Annenberg Political Fact Check monitors the factual accuracy of claims in political ads, speeches, interviews and news releases.
  • - A project of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly. PolitiFact assesses claims in speeches, ads and interviews to determine their accuracy. Particularly fun is reading their "Pants on Fire" rulings.
  • CQ Politics - From Congressional Quarterly, this site provides political news, analysis, blogs, columns, and links to more political information.
  • CQ Politics in America (must be on Carleton network, or have Carleton login) - Descriptions of all the districts by state and their elected representatives. Helpful for understanding election results and predictions as they roll in.
  • New York Times Election Guide 2008 - Candidate profiles, articles, primary calendars, election results, an campaign finance information.
  • CNN ElectionCenter 2008 - This page brings together news about the campaign, the issues, the candidates, and delegate tracking. Check here for election returns, too.


Polls and Election Statistics


Campaign Financing

  • Federal Election Commission - Campaign finance information, including reports on who is giving and who is receiving donations, as well as laws and regulations.
  • Open Secrets - From the Center for Responsive Politics, this site allows you to track campaign contributions from many different angles.


Political Party Websites and Campus Links

(listed alphabetically by party)


More Links

  • 2008 Presidential Election - from Librarians' Internet Index - This page contains links to high-quality websites chosen and described by librarians.
  • Election Resources on the Internet - a collection of links to publicly available elections data, and information about the electoral process from over 120 countries around the world.  There is not as much concerning the current election, but there are links to past US elections data.


 Northfield Election Information

 Where to Vote

  • Students living in Carleton dorms vote at the First United Church of Christ at 300 Union St (across from the middle school/Arts Union).  Students living off campus (even in Carleton-owned interest houses) should use the pollfinder from the Secretary of State's page to find their polling location, or take a look at this map  Northfield Ward and Precinct Map (pdf) from the City of Northfield's website.
  • City of Northfield website - information on registering to vote and voting in Northfield.
  • 2008 US Voter Information - from Google Maps, enter your address and you will be given information about voting for your address.  In mid-October, they will add voting location information.


  • Northfield News Election '08 section - all news reported in the Northfield News that pertains to the election is gathered on this page.  There's not much organization to the page, so you'll need to dig through the articles to find specific information.  But if you want local news about the election, this is the place to go.
  • Election 2008 - is a local blog about Northfield news and issues.  The election 2008 page has links to candidate web pages, and will have candidate responses to locally submitted questions starting Oct. 20.
  • League of Women Voters of Northfield and Cannon Falls - a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.



 Don't see your favorite site here? Email us any recommended sites and we'll consider adding them to this page.

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