Lifestyle

You Can Check To Confirm Your Mail-In Ballot Was Received And Accepted

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If not, you may want to consider voting in person

More than 98 million Americans had cast ballots by Monday evening for the 2020 presidential election. If you were one that voted by mail (that’s almost 60 million people), you’ll want to confirm your ballot has been received and accepted, and if not, make a plan to vote in-person today.

An estimated 29.9 million requested ballots had not been returned as of Monday afternoon, according to the U.S. Elections Project. Though concerning, some of those ballots may have been tossed out in lieu of casting an absentee ballot in person or deciding to wait until today to vote in person. But some may be because of an error or a ballot not getting to officials in time.

The process isn’t a difficult one but it does depend on the state you live. Most states record the receipt of a mail-in ballot and often whether election officials have accepted or rejected it. If your ballot hasn’t been received, or if it’s been rejected, there are steps you can take to ensure your vote is counted.

I think it goes without saying (but I’m saying it anyway) — it’s too late to vote by mail. If you have your mail-in ballot in hand, you have to drop it off at an election office, polling site, or drop-off location by the time the polls close today. Just because you received a main-in ballot doesn’t mean you can’t vote in person but please check here for additional guidance.

If you’ve already voted by mail, or dropped off your ballot, most states offer a way to track it from the time you requested it to the time it was received by your local election officials.

Not even states or counties tracks ballots the same way, so if you’re not already enrolled in ballot tracking, go to your state election website to find more information.

The key is to determine if your ballot has been received and accepted. If it hasn’t been received yet, it could be because of the record number of mail-in ballots this year and it just hasn’t been recorded yet because of the sheer volume. However, if you mailed your ballot in weeks ago and it’s still not showing as received, call your local election official.

Some states like South Carolina, where about 35,000 mail-in ballots had not been returned as of yesterday according to The Washington Post, anyone who requested and received one will not be allowed to vote in person today. They can, however, return their mail-in ballots by 7 p.m. or cast a provisional ballot by stating they did not receive their ballot in the mail. In Michigan, you can “spoil” your mail-in ballot by signing an affidavit canceling your mail ballot so you can vote in person. In New York, in-person votes override mail-in ballots automatically, so knowing your state’s rules is critical.

Bottom line: Check its status online now. If you run into problems, call your local election officials. If you still have concerns and can vote in person — please do so if you are able. Your vote matters.