Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced that the absentee voting period for the General Election officially began Friday, Sept. 21 and ends Monday, Nov. 5.

To ensure that their absentee ballot is successfully cast and counted, voters must follow the instructions received with the ballot and fill out the required forms completely.

He also reminds voters to use the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State's online tool to check the status of their absentee ballots.

An eligible Minnesota voter may cast an absentee ballot for one of the following reasons: absence from the precinct, observance of religious discipline or holiday, illness or disability, serving as an election judge in another precinct, or when an emergency is declared by the governor or a quarantine is declared by the federal or state government.

Voters may visit their county auditor's office to vote in-person absentee. In addition, an online absentee ballot lookup allows the voter to track the progress of their ballot to ensure that it has been successfully counted.

Find absentee voting forms, view voting information and access the absentee ballot lookup at www.mnvotes.org.

It is important to note that Military and Overseas voters have different absentee balloting procedures. Information is available for these voters at https://minnesota.overseasvotefoundation.org.