Vote By Mail: The Latest News You Can Use

There has been a lot of great information coming out recently about voting by mail, so I wanted to be sure you all had the latest information. Let’s start with the most important items.

When does your ballot need to be turned in by?

First, Vox did a wonderful rundown of how to vote by mail. By now most, but not all, of the states have their rules settled for how voting by mail will work for the general election, with the vast majority offering some way for voters to turn in their ballots via the mail. It’s a comprehensive, and very readable article, which I highly recommend if you want to vote by mail.

My favorite part about the article though, (because I wanted to pull together this information myself and now don’t have to), is this map below. This is a really important point, so please remember this, and ask everyone you know who is voting by mail this question: Does your state require you to have your ballot turned in by Election Day (or the day prior), or is it ok just to have it postmarked by Election Day (or the day prior)?

Do you have to mail back your ballot?

Next, CBS did a good article making the point that while the only way to get your mail-in/absentee ballot is through the mail, you don’t necessarily have to use the post office to return your ballot.

Of course, the delays we’re all experiencing with the post office is making us a little jumpy when the rough estimates are that upwards of 60 million people will be casting their ballot using a mail-in ballot this year. So first and foremost, request your ballot as early as you can. You can find out how to request your ballot via this helpful guide from FiveThirtyEight. Click on your state to get the dates, the info, and the links you need.

As for returning your ballots, if it’s getting a bit close to the election and you want to avoid the post office, find out which of these options your local elections office allows: 1) If your state offers early voting, you may be allowed to turn in your ballot at that time. 2) Nearly all states allow you to drop off your ballot at your local elections office. 3) A growing number of states have drop boxes that are only for, well, dropping off your ballot. To find out which of these options are available in your state, visit your state’s election website.

North Carolina starts to send general election ballots

On Friday, North Carolina started to send voters their mail-in ballots, the first state in the country to do so. Due to the unprecedented number of requests, the state will be sending out the ballots in waves. Source

Democrats requesting more absentee ballots

No doubt due to Trump’s continued harping on the topic, Democrats are outpacing Republicans with mail-in ballot requests, especially in swing states. In North Carolina, officials says requests from Democrats are 3 times that from Republicans. In Florida, “47.5% of requests for ballots have come from Democrats and only 32% from Republicans.” In Ohio, half of the ballot requests have come from Democrats while only 38% are from Republicans.

The article did note that in Wisconsin, the ratio is roughly even. Michigan appears to be the only swing state where Republicans are outpacing Democrats. Source

Texas ordered to fix signature matching process

One of the most important aspects of securing your absentee ballot is by signing it. In fact, not signing is one of the top 2 reasons why absentee ballots get rejected, and therefore not counted. In Texas, a federal judge has ordered Texas election officials that they cannot reject perceived signature mismatches without first notifying the voter and then giving the voter a meaningful opportunity to fix it. Source

McCarthy warns Trump over absentee ballots

The Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy has reportedly spent hours with Trump trying to get him to stop attacking absentee voting. McCarthy is primarily worried about deterring senior citizens from voting by mail, particularly as they are likely to be the group least likely to want to vote in person. Being the leader of the Republican caucus, he’s also worried about losing even more congressional seats if Republicans opt not to vote in person and have missed the deadline to vote by mail. Source

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