Firstly, voting by mail is safe and secure. Both the Federal Election Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have found no evidence that voter fraud is increased in any way through voting by mail. Despite claims to the contrary, no evidence exists of mass voter fraud in mail-in ballots. However, there are some concerns about voting by mail that you should know.
- Voting by mail has requirements to make the system more secure. If a mail-in ballot is received without those requirements, the ballot will not be counted in the election. So, it is of the utmost importance to follow the instructions on the ballot in order to make sure your vote counts. These requirements may include:
- Signing both the ballot and the envelope for the ballot
- Completely filling in the circles for candidates with dark ink
- Only voting for one candidate
- Sealing the envelope completely
- Once all the steps have been completed for your mail-in ballot, you can either send the ballot in the mail or deposit the sealed ballot in an official election dropbox, which locations can be found on your local government website. There have been some cases of fraudulent dropboxes in California, so be sure to confirm that the ballot box is official.
- Finally, once all the above steps are complete, remember that you cannot vote in-person once you have voted by mail. In addition, you cannot vote on someone else’s behalf. There have been reported cases of mistaken swapped ballots, such as a married couple putting the two ballots in the same envelope or in the wrong envelopes. Your ballot must be in your signed envelope in order to count.
Secondly, you may not want to vote by mail! Here are some tips to help vote in-person:
- Check for your local voting locations and make a plan to vote beforehand. One of the leading causes of low voter turnout is confusing polling locations, so make sure that you know where yours is and how to get there.
- Make sure you go and vote! The next leading cause of low voter turnout is bad weather. Don’t let a little rain stop your civic engagement in our democracy! Commit to your plan and go vote to make your voice heard.
- Voter intimidation is a potential threat, meaning that some people may try to influence the way you vote before you go into the polling place. Remember that this is your country and your vote counts equally as everyone else’s vote. It may be helpful to decide who you’re voting for before you arrive at the polling place.
- To be a more informed voter, the federal government recommends BallotReady, which provides you a summary of your entire ballot based on your address. Each candidate and referendum is explained and included in the voting guide and can help you make decisions before you reach your polling place.
Renew America Together is committed to protecting our American democracy. The great experiment of our founding fathers lives on every time you cast a ballot. Use this guide, make a plan, and go vote on November 3.