Absentee voting begins soon. Here are a few resources to help you navigate it.
Well, folks, it’s finally here: on Friday, North Carolina will be the first state in the nation to begin mailing absentee ballots to voters for the 2020 election. Polling has shown that a majority of Americans plan to vote early this year, either in person or by mail. So, with that in mind, here are a few resources you might find helpful:
- FiveThirtyEight produced a handy 50-state guide on how to vote this November. It was compiled by an old colleague of mine and is very thorough. Feel free to share this widely!
- Axios put together an easy-to-navigate table with links to apply for an absentee ballot in your state as well as important deadlines for requesting/returning your ballot. It also includes a map showing which states still require an excuse to vote absentee, including states that now accept a fear of contracting COVID-19 as a valid excuse.
- Here is a an overview of mistakes you might be at risk of making when voting absentee — mistakes that could disqualify your ballot. These include improperly filling out your ballot, forgetting to sign your envelope, using a different signature than what your state has on file, not including required additional documentation, and returning your ballot too late. According to the Washington Post, over 500,000 absentee ballots were rejected in this year’s primary elections over issues like this, which could be enough to alter the outcome of an election if the margin is close enough. So, please, read over this article carefully!
- If you are anxious about mailing in your ballot and unsure whether it will make it there in one piece, several states allow you to track your ballot after you have sent it off. Check the link above to see if yours is one such state.
And, as I know a lot of my friends and family reside in Missouri, here are some things for voters in the Show Me State to keep in mind if you decide to cast your vote ahead of Election Day:
- Most (if not all) of you will need to get your ballot envelope notarized before you can return it. You can find a list of notaries near you here.
- If you are voting using a mail-in ballot (as opposed to absentee — see the difference here), you must return it via mail. You cannot deliver it to your local election office in person.
- If you are voting using an absentee ballot, not only can you return it in person OR by mail, you can even have an immediate relative drop it off for you.
Lastly, and ***this is very important***, keep in mind that you must return your ballot and have it postmarked by your state’s deadline if you want your vote to count. Please visit Vote.org to find those deadlines for your state.
I will likely continue updating this as new resources are made available, so consider this a living document. And, however you decide to cast your ballot this year, please do vote — and stay safe.