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Eligible Hennepin County voters beware

Will you vote in the 2012 election? If you have to think about it, you probably need to re-examine your life experience in the past 12 years and ask if it has been exactly what you hoped for and more. The past 4 years have taught us that sitting back and doing nothing gets us a whole lot of trouble.

If you are like most voters in Hennepin County, you know that it is absolutely imperative that you cast your vote on election day.

In order to make certain your decision is an informed one, it helps to do a little reading. (Below are links to the Presidential candidates).

Don't stop there though...please! Take a look at a few other sites to get a more well rounded picture of the candidate you choose. Politico, CNN, and Reuters are great places to get information that will help inform your decisions.

Of course none of this matters if you are not eligible to vote. So be aware in Hennepin County that there are some basic requirements that must be met. Do yourself a favor and get ready now. It is much easier to get your ducks in a row while we are still months away rather than a few weeks away.

Here are the requirements found on the Secretary of State website:

Voters must be at least 18 years of age on Election Day. You wonderful and eager younglings will have to wait your turn if you will not be 18 years old on election day. Instead, talk to the adults in your life and help shape their view in order to make a difference.

Must be a citizen of the United States. If you are not a citizen, just sit this one out. Keep it legal and sane for everyone's sake. Don't add fuel to the hysteria surrounding voting. Once you become a legal citizen with the help of your candidate or political party, you can participate in the system.

Must have resided in Minnesota for 20 days immediately preceding Election Day. Making a move to the land of 10,000 lakes? Just get 'er done before the 20 day window and you will be in good shape. If you are a college student out of state, be very careful here. Check with state and local election regulations to see where you fit in. Where you consider home and where your feet are currently may be two different things.

Must have felony conviction record discharged, expired, or completed. Got yourself back on the path to good citizenship. You too can exercise your right to vote. Just be sure you have followed the letter of the law going forward and stay out of trouble.

Must not be under court-ordered guardianship where a court has revoked your voting rights. A no brainer. If the courts have said you cannot vote, then don't vote!

Cannot be ruled legally incompetent by a court of law. Ruled incompetent by a court of law? You can't vote either so stay clear.

A valid form of identification is also required in order to vote, so check that you are in good order or will be by the time you step into your local polling station. The Secretary of State estimates approximately 215,389 registered voters are lacking valid ID (as of January 2012) and are in danger of being unable to vote if they do not remedy the situation by election day.

Think about that number. There are over 690,000 registered voters in Hennepin County. There are more people in danger of being ineligible to vote than the total number of people who made up the margin between Governor Dayton and his Republican challenger in 2010 (There was only an 8,770 difference between the candidates).

If the upcoming Presidential elections prove to be as close, dropping people from the voting rolls is a winning tactic for the side that can shape the system in their favor.

Do yourself a favor and get it done now so that you are not a statistic that helps the other guy get elected.

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