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Brown County Browser: News from the Brown County Courthouse

For the first time in decades, Minnesota will hold a presidential primary March 3, and early voting begins Jan. 17.

There are a couple of other big changes. When you vote on Super Tuesday, your secret ballot won’t be as secret as it used to be.

To be clear, no one will know who you voted for on Super Tuesday – but a lot of people will know how you voted.

A new Minnesota law will make public to the state’s political parties if you voted Democrat, or if you voted Republican.

When you show up to vote, you will be asked to choose a Republican ballot or a Democratic ballot. Which party you voted for will be turned over to four major political parties.

You read that right. Four political parties will get your personal voter data: The Democrats, the Republicans, and two new Minnesota political parties formed for the single purpose of legalizing recreational pot — The Legal Marijuana Now Party and the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party.

It’s already public information who you are, where you live and how often you vote. But parties will know now which party you vote for — to ask you for money, to volunteer, to remind you when it’s time to vote.

That data sharing “is of great concern” to Minnesota Election officials. According to the Secretary of State’s office, legislation is being prepared to “restrict what parties can do with the data once they get it.”

An important point: It is only for the presidential nomination primary. At all other state elections no one will see how you voted, or who you voted for.

As far as prior primaries of this type, the last time Minnesota had a primary of this type was in 1992. This year 13 other states will conduct a presidential nomination primary – often referred to as “Super Tuesday.”

LICENSE BUREAU UPDATE

As of Jan. 2, the total number of Minnesotans who are REAL ID ready rose to 505,311 or 10.72%.

If you want a REAL ID to fly or enter a federal building later this year, apply for one now, and make sure you have everything you need before you visit the License Bureau. Know that it takes at least six weeks to receive your Real ID in the mail.

When applying for a Real ID, you must provide one document that has your identity and date of birth, like a passport or birth certificate.

You also need another proving your Social Security number and two different documents proving current residency in the state, like a utility bill or a lease agreement.

Only original documents will be accepted, no laminated, scanned or digital copies will do.

We recommend pre-applying online. You will still need to visit our local License Bureau to finish the request to get your new MN License or ID. But by completing the information online you should be able to expedite the process. Be sure to bring your confirmation page and the documents listed on the confirmation letter.

ARE YOU A VETERAN?

Minnesota offers veterans the opportunity to display their veteran status on their driver’s license or state ID card. This can help you obtain discounts and other benefits from local businesses and organizations without having to carry discharge papers with you as proof of service. When you apply for, renew, or update your license you will need to present your DD214 in order to qualify for this indicator on your license. This is another way that we want to say: Thank You for Serving Our Country!

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