With a record number of people expected to vote in the 2020 election by mail-in ballot during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, voters are bracing for potential U.S. Postal Service (USPS) delays. If you've already cast your vote or are planning to in the near future, you might be wondering: Was my absentee ballot was received? While tracking varies from state to state, you can check on the status of your ballot to make sure it gets counted by Election Day.
Once you've filled out your absentee ballot and send it in by mail or at an approved drop-off location like your closest election office or a secure ballot dropbox, the wait is on. When mailing in your absentee ballot, keep in mind your state’s deadline for receiving it and send it as soon as possible, but no later than Tuesday, Oct. 27, per the USPS's recommendations. If you drop it off in person, make sure to practice the latest coronavirus precautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of June 22, including going during off-peak times to avoid crowds, wearing a face covering, and practicing social distancing as much as possible.
According to NBC News, all 50 states and Washington, D.C. offer some way to track your mail-in ballot after it's sent in, although it's easier in some than others. In some cases, you may need to go through your Secretary of State's office or your state's Board of Elections to see the status of your ballot. If your state doesn't have a universal system for tracking ballots, you'll first want to head to your county’s Board of Elections website to obtain tracking information. After you request your absentee ballot, you can also keep an eye out for a confirmation email with information about tracking. You can also contact local election officials by phone or email if you can't find your tracking information.
In light of The Washington Post's report that 500,000 ballots weren't counted during the 2020 primary elections due to minor mistakes, you might want to consider tracking your ballot to make sure your voice is heard. Plus, if there are any problems with your ballot, it will give you enough time to remedy any issues or cast a provisional ballot.
While many states allow you to track your ballot online by entering your first and last name in a tracking portal, you should also save the tracking number on your ballot in case. Depending on where you live, you might also need to enter your Social Security number, your date of birth, or other personal information to locate it.
With Election Day just weeks away, it's important to send in your absentee ballots as soon as possible and keep an eye on your tracking information to make sure your vote is counted come Nov. 3.
Your voice matters. So does your vote. Make sure both are heard and counted in the 2020 election by registering to vote right now.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.