Due to the dangers associated with contracting COVID-19, voting in the age of Coronavirus will be different. Several protocols have been put in place by states to keep Citizens safe, including social distancing, crowd limitations, and mask mandates. As such, voting in the age of Coronavirus Pandemic can be challenging to say the least, but it doesn’t have to cause you anxiety.
Arm yourself early with information on your state’s voting process during this Coronavirus crisis, so you feel confident about casting your all-important vote in the 2020 Elections.
Every State Offers Mail-in Absentee Voting
Each state has mail-in voting, but some allow you to take part only in certain circumstances.
- Some states require an excuse for voting by mail. Due to the coronavirus, some states are giving all voters an excuse to vote by mail for certain elections.
- Because of the coronavirus, your state may automatically send you an absentee ballot or a form to fill out to request one.
State Board Of Elections Guidance
For many Citizens, 2020 Elections will be their first time utilizing the mail-in absentee voting option. There has been some confusion and misinformation regarding Vote-By-Mail verses Absentee Voting, of which they are essentially one in the same. In addition, there have been concerns around processing the sheer volume anticipated, should all states participate fully in mail-in absentee voting.
ExpressYourselfBlog reached out for guidance to understand what Voters should know about the Mail-in Absentee Voting process. In conversations on August 13, 2020, with a State Board Of Elections Official, the following guidance was shared which is crucial information to ensure a smooth Mail-in Absentee Voting experience.
- Voter Registration: You may now Email or Fax your Voter Registration Request Form. Previously, you were able to complete online, but the actual form had to be mailed in. You must be registered to vote to request an Absentee Mail-in Ballot.
- Absentee Ballot Request Forms: You may receive unsolicited (Not Requested) Absentee Ballot Request Forms. While the form may be legit, be sure to confirm by checking at the bottom to see which organization sent it, and confirm the legitimacy of that organization and the county address on the envelope for returning your Ballot request. If in doubt, seek confirmation. (ALERT: Per Board of Elections, if the form is partially complete with your name/address, and other personal information, DISCARD. Do not use this Absentee Ballot Request Form). Their preference, request your form via the Board of Elections or other trusted sources. Other sources may be your political party.
- Absentee Mail-In Ballot Certification: The term Certification refers to having someone witness the voter complete their Absentee Mail-In Ballot. It may be a Notary or a family member will suffice. The name of the witness must be written on your form.
- Absentee Ballot Process: Your actual Absentee Ballot must be mailed to receive a date-stamp for verification of date received per deadlines for voting submission, generally. In some cases, there may be a ‘DropBox’ or in-person delivery process option for accepting your Absentee Ballot. This varies by county and may differ even within the same state. Be sure to confirm your county’s process. While the Board of Elections prefers Voting Ballots be mailed via the U.S. Post Office, however, there are other certified carriers that may be used. Be sure to confirm before use.
- Where To Mail Or Drop Off Your Absentee Ballot: Be sure to mail your Ballot to your ‘County’ Board of Elections Office. If mailed to the ‘State‘ Board of Elections, they will need to reroute to your county. When you request your Absentee Ballot via your Board of Elections Office, the envelope provided will come with the appropriate county address. Always check to confirm.
Traditional Voting Options
While traditional voting options may be available, such as voting early or in-person, during the Coronavirus Pandemi there may have been changes to the process or options to accommodate for safety and other nuances impacted by COVID-19.
- Early Voting By State. You may be able to Register and Vote the same day. Early voting allows for more locations to cast your ballot.
- Polling Place Lookup-Find polling places and hours for voting specific to your county.
- Voting Requirements By State-Confirm with your State if ID or other confirmation of identity is required well ahead of time
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. If you did not Vote Early, you must vote at your assigned precinct. As long as you are in line prior to closing hours, you must be allowed to vote.
A Personal Message From The Creator | To All Voters:
Take advantage of Early Voting if your state offers it. You may Vote Early via Mail-in Absentee Voting or go the traditional route should your state be equipped to do so in a manner in which you feel comfortable and safe.
The key message, your state should offer options to be in compliance with your Constitutional Right to Vote.
This includes a process that ensures every voter has the ability to vote safely in-person and grants reasonable access to polling places based on geographical location. Supply operable and ample voting machines. Offer clear options and specific and timely instruction for Absentee Mail-in Voting, which includes the availability of mailboxes (Many mailboxes removed by order of U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, months before a Presidential Election).