So, I might want to vote by mail. What should I be planning for?

Staying Safe

A: The very first step in ANY voting plan is checking your voter registration or registering to vote, and we’re ready to help you with that too – it just so happens that today is National Voter Registration Day!

Voting by mail is a safe and secure way to make your voice heard in November, and if you think voting by mail is best for you, we have a few tips and tricks to share. If you’d rather vote in person, we’ll talk more about staying safe at the polls in a few weeks!

First things first: you must be registered to vote to cast a ballot by mail OR in person. We recommend checking your state’s requirements at Vote.gov, which will link directly to information about the process in your state. Even if you think you registered, or you voted successfully in the primary, CHECK AGAIN! Some states are changing procedures and deadlines to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and you can’t be too careful. It takes less time than washing your hands (though here’s a friendly reminder to do that too!).

If you want to get involved with helping others register to vote, we want to highlight VoteHealth 2020, a non-partisan organization working tirelessly to encourage healthcare workers to register to vote and to support their peers and patients to do the same! We love that VoteHealth 2020 empowers healthcare workers to take action in voter registration, and that they support other organizations seeking to increase voter registration with ready-to-use digital resources. To our followers in the healthcare community, check them out!

NEXT: Voting by mail. Mail-in ballots are already being distributed, and you should still have time to receive one if you want. Most, but not all, states have the option to vote by mail or via absentee ballot for the November election. If you think you want to vote by mail, DO NOT WAIT to look up the rules in your state to figure out how to get your ballot. It’s a great way to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19 while still casting your vote.

Once you have your ballot in hand, the real fun begins. Articles from Business Insider and NBC News (both linked below) outline some ways to help prevent your ballot from being rejected. TL;DR, here are a few highlights:

1. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines: These vary by state, and some states have even updated their rules since the primary elections! Make sure you know if your ballot must be RECEIVED by Election Day, POSTMARKED by Election Day, or received by another date to make sure your vote counts. Easiest way to avoid this issue? Send in your ballot early! Some states will even have drop boxes so you can deliver your ballot personally. Don’t wait until a week before Election Day.

2. Follow the instructions: Read the ballot carefully – don’t take anything for granted, even the kind of ink they want you to use. A VERY COMMON reason for a mail-in ballot being rejected is because the voter forgot to sign somewhere – double check the instructions and try to ensure your signature will match the one in the DMV or voter registration records.

3. Check for special rules: Some ballots require additional documentation, like a witness signature, and others might have a “secrecy envelope” that is meant to protect your ballot. Don’t assume that your ballot will look the same as it did if you voted by mail in the primaries – take your time and read everything.

4. Track your ballot: Most (but not all) states have some sort of system to ensure your ballot is received and in some cases, accepted. If you mail in early enough and track your ballot until it arrives safely, you can rest easy knowing your vote is counted, or have enough time to call your local election office to troubleshoot anything unusual. To read more on ballot tracking, check out the article from Business Insider below.

Mail-in voting has a lot of rules, but it can be a meaningful way to cast your vote without needing to stand in line on Election Day. If you have questions on mail-in voting or other voting safety tips, drop them in our Question Box at https://dearpandemic.org/ so we can explore the answers together.

Stay safe, stay sane.

With love,
Those Nerdy Girls

#VotingTuesday #StayingSafe #NationalVoterRegistrationDay

To register to vote with the help of VoteHealth 2020

For further reading on voting by mail:

Business Insider

NBC News

More on ballot tracking from Business Insider

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