Election 2020 – Five Tips to Secure a Mail-In Ballot That Counts
Forecasts predict that roughly 80 million votes will get cast by mail-in ballots—double the number cast by mail in the 2016 election. Here are a couple tips to make sure your vote counts for the 2020 election.
Smart use of the internet will help you cast a mail-in ballot that counts.
Projections abound, yet forecasts predict that roughly 80 million votes will get cast by mail-in ballots—double the number cast by mail in the 2016 election. While we’ll only know the final tally of mail-in voters sometime after election day, what we know right now is that nearly 75% of U.S. voters will be able to vote by mail in the 2020 election
If you’re one of those voters, or know someone who is, this quick five-point primer of online resources should help.
Fake ballots, the pandemic and other election concerns
Pew Research found that Americans are split 50/50 as to whether voting in the 2020 election will be “easy” or “hard.” Compare that to the 2018 figures where 85% said that voting would be “easy” in that election. We can chalk that up to several factors this year, most notably the effect of the pandemic on voting, which I touched on in my blog last week.
However, there are other concerns at play. We’ve seen concerns about mail-in ballot fraud, along with confusion about how to get a mail-in ballot, and yet further confusion as to who is eligible to get a mail-in ballot in the first place… just to name a few.
These concerns all share a common remedy: the facts.
Good information, direct from your state election officials, will point the way. Skip social media altogether. It is not a trusted resource. In all, it’s a mistake to get any election information on social media, according to F.B.I. Director, Christopher Wray. Instead, let’s point ourselves in the right direction.
Cast your mail-in ballot securely with these five tips:
- Refer to your state and local officials for guidance: Visiting your state’s election website and resources they offer is your best bet for clearing up any questions about your eligibility to vote by mail or to report any difficulties you may have.
- Follow the directions closely: Mail-in ballots, and the rules for filling them out, also vary from state to state. Get to know yours with a visit to your state’s election website. Common errors like failing to get a witness signature (or signatures), failing to slip your ballot into a second security envelope, or using the wrong colored pen are all examples of ways ballots can get disqualified in some states. And when you get your ballot, read it closely before you start—including the mailing or drop off instructions.
- Know your election timeline: Deadlines are everything—such as when you can apply for an absentee or mail-in ballot, when they need to be returned or postmarked, and if you have other drop off options other than the mail. Again, your state or local election website will clearly call all that out.
- Give the mail extra time: Don’t leave your vote to chance. Request your mail-in ballot, as needed, right away. Once you’ve filled it out, get it in the mail early. The U.S. Postal Service has an entire site dedicated to election mail that’s loaded with plenty of good advice for mail-in voters, whether you’re stateside, overseas, or deployed elsewhere with the military.
- Track your ballot: The ability and means to track your ballot will of course vary from state to state. However, checking in with your state’s election website will show you what your options are.