More than ever before, it is crucial that we get record turnout for Election 2020 and that all of those votes count.
But with so many voters voting with absentee/mail-in ballots this year for the first time, I think it’s really important to help people avoid the types of mistakes that invalidate absentee ballots. It all comes down to paying attention to the details.
Voting with an absentee/mail-in ballot
Ok, let’s assume you’ve requested your ballot (if you haven’t, find out how to do that HERE) and you’ve just received it. Here’s what you need to do.
Follow the instructions EXACTLY. Do not skim or skip reading the instructions. Don’t give election officials any reason to reject your ballot. If they say use black ink, don’t use dark blue. If it says to fill in the oval, don’t circle the candidate name instead.
Choose only one candidate per race. If you choose two, your vote won’t count.
Use the envelopes correctly. If your state requires a security envelope, like in Pennsylvania, use it.
Sign your envelope properly. Missing signatures is the #2 reason why absentee ballots are rejected. Be sure to use your normal signature — if your signature doesn’t match what is on file, your ballot could get rejected.
Include the required documentation. Do you need to include a copy of your ID? Do you need a witness signature? Do you need to get your ballot notarized? Again, read the instructions and follow them exactly.
Turn in your ballot on time. The #1 reason why absentee ballots are rejected is because they are received too late. If at all possible, turn it in early either by handing it to an elections official at your county elections office or putting it into an official drop box. If you have to mail it, mail it in as early as possible. Remember, many states require that ballots arrive by Election Day. If you’re not sure if you have enough time to mail it, you may also be able to hand it directly to an elections official on Election Day at your local polling location.
Return your ballot in perfect condition. Don’t fold it, tear it, get it dirty, or mark it up in any way.
A few extra tips
Please vote as early as you can. Yes, I know most dates are deadlines but leaving your vote to the last minute, especially as we are seeing COVID cases rise and more confusion being sown by Trump and the Republicans regarding our election, I don’t want anyone risking running out of time to vote.
Once you turn in your ballot, check your local elections website to confirm your ballot was received. Not every state offers this, but many do.
Also, keep an eye on your mail. If your elections officials find a problem with your ballot, like say your signature isn’t quite what they have on file, they should give you an opportunity to fix it, but you’ll have to act fast.
If you encounter any problems with voting, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
Finally, please share this article widely. It’s so important that we do everything possible to make sure our votes are counted. Thank you!!
There’s less than a month to go before Election Day! Download my free checklist today: 19 Quick Ways to Turn Out the Vote in 2020. Each action takes 10 minutes or less!