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Foreclosure and Minnesota’s Same-Day Voter Registration

As many as three million Americans may lose homes to foreclosure this year. The effects of this national trauma are far-reaching, and one of them involves the exercise of one of the most fundamental rights a citizen has – voting.

Each state differs in its requirements for voter registration. Some states allow people to update their registration information right up until Election Day. Others enforce a deadline of 30 days before the election. But what happens when someone’s address has been affected by foreclosure proceedings?

In Minnesota, the situation is made simpler by a law that allows for same-day registration. Election officials are reaching to people affected by foreclosure, seeking to get across the point that a person can still vote even if they’ve lost their permanent address to foreclosure.

It doesn’t matter where someone lives – with friends, with extended family, in an apartment, or elsewhere – as long as the person has lived in Minnesota for at least 20 days and can prove where he or she lives.

People who have recently moved may not yet have obtained documentation with a new address, such as a utility bill or an updated driver’s license. But it is still possible to vote without such documentation if a registered voter will vouch for you. People who are registered voters can vouch for neighbors and friends who are not, even if the neighbors have no official documents identifying themselves.

Foreclosures are not likely to let up anytime soon. But people whose address has been affected by foreclosure can come to the polls in Minnesota on November 2 without fear of being turned away.