The COVID-19 pandemic is shaping how People strategy the presidential election, together with the place individuals will fill out ballots. Election officers expect a “historic degree” of mail-in voters this November as states make changes amid considerations in regards to the transmission of the virus at polling locations.
Guidelines and rules for mail voting are totally different throughout the nation, from acquiring a poll (it is extra accessible in some locations than others) to deadlines (although most are in October). And whereas some states have expanded entry, others require a purpose past COVID-19 to vote from house.
The method might be complicated. So we requested Nationwide Vote at Residence Institute‘s CEO Amber McReynolds—dubbed the “main girl of vote-by-mail“—to reply each query you might need about mail ballots.
ELLE: What are the most important causes to vote by mail?
Amber McReynolds: There’s lots of causes to vote by mail. Voters with disabilities or the aged are sometimes the primary teams individuals consider, however college students, dad and mom, shift employees, and the army are different teams that profit from vote by mail insurance policies. A few of these teams are unable to get to the polls throughout voting hours—or wait in lengthy traces at them—however there’s different causes to vote by mail, like having extra time to analysis the problems. Some ballots are a number of pages lengthy due to referendums and native points. Voters are extra engaged with these “down-ballot” points in a vote by mail system as a result of they will take the time to analysis. They don’t really feel pressured to hurry by means of a voting sales space.
Who’s eligible to vote by mail?
AM: All of it relies on the place the voter lives. Some states robotically mail a poll to all eligible voters, whereas different states require voters to each meet particular standards and request a mail poll for every election. You will discover extra details about your state’s election guidelines, right here.
How do I do know if my state will enable me to vote by mail?
AM: Discover out on www.canivote.org, which is run by the Nationwide Affiliation of Secretaries of State. The opposite place to go to for details about your poll is your native election official. We strongly encourage voters to contact their native elections workplace with questions on their poll.
How and when ought to I request a poll?
AM: It varies by states and jurisdiction. For those who can, we encourage you to make use of an internet portal by means of your state or county to make a request as quickly as attainable to ensure it is processed and mailed to you on time. Sure, there are deadlines for every state and jurisdiction, however we strongly encourage voters to request a poll as quickly as attainable.
I am fearful about about my poll arriving in time.
AM: A superb rule of thumb is to request your poll by October 13 and return it within the mail by October 24. For those who try this, it needs to be acquired by your native election workplace on time. These dates have been instructed by former Deputy Postmaster Common Ronald Stroman, and provides each the voter and the U.S. Postal Service enough time to return a poll.
Are there choices if I miss my state’s deadline to vote by mail?
AM: Some states have sturdy early voting choices, whereas others solely have in-person voting on Election Day. Some states have applied extra early voting choices like curbside voting or extra early voting places to assist in giving voters extra choices.
What are the dangers of voting by mail?
AM: Whereas there aren’t any dangers of voting by mail per se, there are issues you have to be conscious of when requesting and filling out a mail poll. Returning the poll on time is the best “threat,” however can simply be averted if you happen to request and return your poll early. You may need to be sure you stuffed out the poll appropriately, so you should definitely learn the poll directions very rigorously and be sure you are offering a signature the place indicated. That signature ought to match the one on file on the election workplace. For those who suppose your signature has modified, contact your native board of elections or clerk to replace it.
I am involved my vote will not get counted.
AM: Voters ought to educate themselves in regards to the mail poll course of and browse directions very rigorously. Ballots might be rejected for errors or for arriving late. To lower the possibilities of that, NVAHI has been working with jurisdictions to ensure directions are clear and processes are honest and equitable. We’re additionally working with teams that contact voters to ensure voters know precisely what to anticipate once they get their poll, together with fill it out and return it on time.
The president has criticized mail-in voting. Ought to I be involved?
AM: It is a extremely safe course of trusted by voters and politicians alike. So long as you come back the poll in a well timed method and observe all the directions rigorously, voting by mail is an extremely handy and seamless methodology of voting not solely within the November election, however in all elections.
This interview has been flippantly edited and condensed for readability.
Rose is a Employees Author at ELLE.com masking tradition, information, and girls’s points.
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